November 1997 Volume 4 Number 11
EU: Fears of Polish Migration
The new Chair of the European Parliament's Joint Parliamentary Committee, Ursula Stenzel, said on October 8 that there are several difficulties about admitting Poland to membership in the EU, including the threat of mass emigration from Poland to western Europe. Stenzel warned that "everything must be done to avoid an emigration of population from the countryside... structural reforms and improvement of infrastructure in the agrarian sector are an important precondition of entry into the European Union."
Stenzel added that "the migration pressure into the European Union would cause a problem for our labor market--and we must not forget that there are already 20 million people in the EU without a job." Stenzel said that Polish accession should be subject to transitional measures to limit free movement of people. She recommended that Polish job-seekers have a six-month grace period to find work in the EU outside Poland, and that, if they had not found employment at the end of the time they would be obligated to return to Poland.
The Czech gypsies moving to the UK in October have also been mentioned as a possible obstacle to Czech entry into the EU. The Czech Ambassador to the EU said that the gypsies will "not threaten admission itself. But it is clear that if we become a EU member, it is impossible for us to have visa duty with some of its members because the freedom of people's movement is a fundamental principle in the Union."
EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers met in Luxembourg October 9-10, 1997, but failed to agree on a set of core set of rights for foreigners granted temporary protection in the EU, rights that might include maintenance of family groups, housing, education, and work. EU nations will have to reach unanimous agreement, but there is no agreement yet on a number of points, notably sharing the cost of maintaining those granted Temporary Protected Status.
In Prague, 40 European countries in mid-October backed measures aimed at stemming a tide of illegal migration in Europe and clamping down on smugglers. The two-day conference adopted 55 recommendations, including fines on airlines and other travel services that carry people without proper travel documents.
"Romany exodus may complicate Prague's EU admission," CTK National News Wire, October 22, 1997. "EU Enlargement," Euro-East, October 21, 1997. "EU/Poland; Guarding Against a Flood of Migrants to the EU," European Report, October 11, 1997.