MVSiA: Suspension of small border traffic with Russia is dictated by national security
In Warsaw, the prolongation of the suspension of the small border traffic with Russia is explained by active militarization of the Kaliningrad region. It is reported by Upmp.news with reference to the Polish Radio.
The decision to prolong the suspension of the so-called small border traffic with Russia is dictated by national security. On this Wednesday, February 28, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Renata Szengh emphasized on it in the Sejm session. According to her, suspension of the movement does not affect the economic situation of firms from the border areas.
In 2016, in connection with the NATO Summit in Poland and the World Youth Days Warsaw made a decision to suspend the provisions of interdepartmental agreements on small border traffic, in particular regarding entry and stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland of residents of the border zone of Ukraine and Russia. After World Youth Day, the small border traffic with Ukraine was returned, while in the case of the Kaliningrad region it was extended.
Opposition politicians from the Modern party asked about the reasons of such a desidion on Wednesday, during the Sejm session. In the opinion of the deputy Eve Lider, the suspension of the agreement on small border traffic negatively affects the economy of the border counties, in particular local enterprises. She added that the prohibition of visa-free travel combined with the trade ban on Sunday, which comes into force today, March 1, will lead to losses for the local economy.
Vice Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration Renata Szenhg emphasized that the decision to prolong the suspension of the small border traffic with Russia is dictated by national security. She mentioned some reasons for such a decision, including the “West” military training of the Russian army, the intensification of the Kaliningrad region’s militarization, the process of increasing the Russian military personnel in the region and intensifying “the activity of Russian special services and other security agencies.” Szengh emphasized that visas allow a more thorough check of foreigners who want to enter Poland. She gave the data of the Border Guard Service of Poland, according to which the movement on the border with the Kaliningrad region is constantly increasing.
The Vice-Minister denied the idea of worsening the economic situation of firms from the border areas. She cited the data of the Main Directorate of Statistics, according to which in the years 2014-2016, the lowest level of expenses for foreigners was registered in the first quarter of 2016, that is, during the period of the small border traffic with Russia – more than 105 million zlotys.
In turn, in the first quarter of 2017, when the small movement was suspended, the amount of foreign invoices arriving in Poland from the Kaliningrad region amounted to almost 125 million zł, that is, as Szengh said, by 18% more than during the same period of the previous year.
The Vice-Minister added that the total amount of expenses of foreigners coming to Poland from the Kaliningrad region in the first half of 2017 amounted to just over 271 million zlotys. She noted that it was 14.5% more compared to the same period in 2016.
“The thesis of reducing the value of purchased goods and services of Poland in connection with the suspension of the transaction is completely false,” – said Szengh.