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EU must guard against Russia’s aim to disrupt Schengen zone: Polish official

30.05.2023 23:45
The European Union must protect its passport-free Schengen zone against attempts to destabilise it by Russia and Belarus, a Polish deputy interior minister has said.
Polish Deputy Interior Minister Bartosz Grodecki (right) and Germanys Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (left) meet in the western Polish border village of Świecko on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
Polish Deputy Interior Minister Bartosz Grodecki (right) and Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (left) meet in the western Polish border village of Świecko on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. PAP/Lech Muszyński

Bartosz Grodecki made the statement in the western Polish village of Świecko, on the German border, on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.  

The Polish deputy interior minister met with Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser at a centre that coordinates the cooperation of the Polish and German border agencies, police and customs agencies, according to officials. 

At a joint news conference afterwards, Grodecki said the Polish-German facility “shows the importance of cooperation between Polish and German agencies when it comes to the security of the European Union’s internal borders.”

'Efficient protection of EU’s external borders

He added: “Our meeting focused on the scope of this cooperation and ways to strengthen it further. We seek to work even more efficiently in dealing with the migrant pressure that is currently present across Europe, in every EU member state, coming mainly from the southern direction.”

Grodecki told reporters that “the security of internal borders is closely linked to efficient protection of the EU’s external borders.”

He said: “Poland’s measures on the external border, especially the Belarus border, are designed to protect the Polish border, but also the shared European border.”

Grodecki said these measures “influence relations between countries, but also the functioning of the entire Schengen zone.” 

‘Better ways to protect Schengen zone

He told reporters: “The Schengen zone is what both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko are seeking to destabilise. We have met here today precisely to help protect this achievement. To protect one of the many pillars of the European Community that is the Schengen zone.”

Grodecki cautioned that “without systemic measures to protect external borders, to make internal borders secure, to foster cooperation between countries; without effective readmissions and without ceasing to use the system of international protection to legalise stay, the Schengen zone that we know and value will no longer exist.”

Grodecki thanked Germany’s Fraeser for her country’s cooperation with Poland “in supporting refugees from war-torn Ukraine and ensuring border security.”

He said Tuesday’s talks were designed to “develop even better ways to protect the Schengen zone and the benefits it brings to Europeans.”

German interior minister thanks Poland for cooperation on migration issues

Meanwhile, the German interior minister thanked Poland for “close and trust-based cooperation on migration issues,” the PAP news agency reported.

Faeser told reporters: “We have been experiencing an increase in migration pressure, also from the Belarusian direction. We know it’s migration that is largely orchestrated and targeted by concrete forces. I am convinced that through joint action, through high-intensity measures … we’ll be able to contain this phenomenon.”

She said that since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, “Polish-German cooperation has gained a new, very good dimension.”

Faeser added: “I am especially grateful to Poland for welcoming so many refugees from war-torn Ukraine and for the effort expended to look after them.”

Tuesday was day 461 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, gov.pl

Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.