Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 201

The Kaliningrad region should be considered as a single border area

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 24 novembre 2011

Object: Museum of history and art in Kaliningr...

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The Russian enclave of Kaliningrad should be recognised as a single border area with the EU, said Members of the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday, supporting a Commission proposal. This will make it easier for the region’s one million inhabitants to cross to the Polish and Lithuanian border areas.The proposed changes to the 2006 local border traffic regulation enable the entire Kaliningrad region to be considered as one single border area. The purpose of this measure is to enhance trade, social and cultural exchanges and to further promoting the strategic partnership between the EU and Russia. The 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement makes it easier for all Russian citizens to obtain short-term visas to travel to Schengen countries. However, this measure has proved insufficient in addressing Kaliningrad’s isolation from its neighbours. The local border traffic regime offers additional facilitations for regular, even daily, travels within the local area. For example, applicants do not have to prove sufficient means of subsistence, the permit may be issued free of charge, and separate lanes or border crossing points may be set up for local border traffic. Under the Commission proposal supported by the Civil Liberties Committee, the entire Kaliningrad area should be eligible as a single border area. This would enable all residents to enjoy these advantages.Currently, the Kaliningrad enclave is artificially divided into three districts. One is covered by a local border traffic agreement with Poland, one by an agreement with Lithuania and the third one is not covered by any agreement as it lies outside the border area. The regulation aims to prevent this artificial fragmentation and enable all Kaliningrad’s inhabitants to enjoy local border traffic’s advantages.
The Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation is, since the 2004 EU enlargement, completely surrounded by two Member States (Poland and Lithuania). The enclave has a population of almost one million inhabitants. According to recent statistics, more than 72.000 person cross the Kaliningrad-Polish border every year, most of them for purposes of tourism and to visit grave sites.
The report, drafted by Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL, CY), was adopted in committee unanimously, with one abstention. The vote in plenary is scheduled for the next Strasbourg session (12 – 15 December 2011).

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