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Tuesday, 14 February 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Local border traffic (debate)
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  Karl von Wogau (PPE-DE), draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, by opening up the borders between the European Communities’ Member States and by establishing the four freedoms of the European Union, we, in Europe, have brought into being one of the freest societies in the world, but freedom without security is nothing, and that is why especial significance attaches to the security of the external borders that are thus created to the East, to the Balkans, and across the Mediterranean, the latter with its own uniquely serious problems. These borders must be as secure as possible, and that will require the use of the most modern technologies. At the same time, they must also be as flexible as possible, in order not to impose needless restrictions on businesses in the border regions and on the people who live there.

For that to happen, two things are required. One is integrated administration of the border, an administration shared by the customs authorities and the border police, something that cannot, unfortunately, always be guaranteed, but this integrated administration must also be shared with the neighbouring countries. The fact is that a border is truly secure and flexible only when those on both sides of it work as closely as possible together, and it is certainly one of the tasks of our new neighbourhood policy to get this aspect of bilateral security addressed by both sides jointly.

The other thing we need to do is to create a ‘frontier worker’s card’ – ‘local border traffic permit’ is a splendid term, but a very long and bureaucratic-sounding one – for those people who live on the border and have to cross it frequently. Only if we do both these things will we prevent the people living in the new border regions sustaining any unnecessary disadvantages.

(Applause)

 
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