Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Modernisation of road border crossing in the Podlaskie voivodeship (Połowce)
Poland has one of the longest Schengen external borders of the EU, measuring nearly 1200kilometres. An efficient, functional eastern Schengen border is not only important for Poland and the EU, but also for Switzerland’s security. That is why, as part of the enlargement contribution, Switzerland is investing in modern infrastructure that facilitates well-functioning customs clearance at strategically important border crossings on the Polish-Belarusian border. The project finances the construction of a new road border crossing in Połowce, adjusted to the national and EU-norms and regulations.
Enhanced security and safety
- Border guards
- Customs services
- Transport companies
- Members of Schengen
- Regional habitants
- Working conditions of Border Guards and Customs Officers were improved through construction of modern buildings and provision of equipmentThe road border crossing in Polowce got an international status on April 2015 and is fully operational under the Polish border services.
- The project triggered economic and social development in the region: the local authorities decided to modernize roads leading to the border crossing.
- 10 buildings and facilities for border control constructed
- Modern equipement for clearance has been procured, 112 pieces out of the 112 planned (x-ray scanner used for verification of cars, weight scales for cars, sets of tools for dismantling cars etc.)
- 16 % more of falsification of documents were detected.
- National State Institute North
The voivodeship of Podlaskie has a 240 km long border with Belarus. Every year an increasing number of goods and people are passing this line. Since Poland’s accession to Schengen, their border check points need to be upgraded to Schengen standards. The Połowce crossing border, despite its strategic position and activities, does not yet meet these standards (like for example the full monitoring of the crossing point, the sufficient number and length of the checking lanes, the instalment of an obligatory radiation detection instrument, etc).
The project aims at developing and improving the security system of the external border of the European Union by the construction of a new road border crossing in Połowce. It will contribute to secure the EU border and improve the functioning of the border crossing in Połowce, reduce smuggling activities, allow a better border crossing management within the whole Voivodeship and be prepared for the implementation of the small traffic agreement between Poland and Belarus. As well, the project will promote the economic potential and induce business activities in the region.
The project finances the construction of a new road border crossing in Połowce, adjusting it to the national and EU-norms and regulations and at the same time improving the working conditions for the officers and civil workers of Border Guards and customs Officers. Concretely new enclosed structures as buildings of border guard, customs chamber, and administrative buildings will be constructed and furnished. Moreover, the budget includes the purchase of modern customs clearance equipment.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Foreign state institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 15’886’806 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 15’616’642|
Phase 1 01.04.2012 - 30.11.2016 (Completed)
The two Polish border crossings of Siemianówka and Połowce are being renovated and upgraded with Swiss support to ensure that they reach Schengen standards. At the same time, Switzerland wants to step up its exchange of expertise and experience with Polish customs authorities. Today, the two borders crossings meet neither EU standards nor Polish legal requirements. The infrastructure is outdated and in need of renovation: modern installations are lacking and equipment doesn’t meet current needs. Personnel are negatively affected by these conditions and struggle to carry out their tasks given the growing cross-border traffic.
Border crossings of Siemianówka and Połowce
In the strategically important border railway station of Siemianówka, the buildings, loading ramps and access roads are outdated and in need of renovation. Facilities for food and border veterinary inspections are lacking entirely. The same is the case in the customs office in Połowce, which is currently only open to Polish and Belarusian nationals and does not handle customs clearance for international goods. A well-functioning customs clearance and border control in Połowce reduces the burden on other border crossings in the region. Because of long waiting times, more and more transport companies are accepting long detours to other border crossings, leading to undesireable additional traffic through villages.
Another goal of efficient and well-functioning border control and customs clearance in Siemianówka and Połowce is to combat the smuggling of people and goods. Poland hopes that the upgrading of the two border crossings will revitalise the regional economy, create new jobs in this structurally underdeveloped region, and increase local border traffic for cultural exchanges with Belarus.
Concrete investment in infrastructure and Swiss expertise for Podlaskie
In Połowce, the Swiss contribution is enabling the construction of terminal facilities for trucks, and for border controls for persons, as well as the construction of a roof for the border post, and the provision of modern infrastructure for administrative and operational buildings. In addition to administrative and operational buildings, a storage room for confiscated goods, facilities for food and border veterinary inspections, external fencing and an electronic monitoring system are being built in the border railway station of Siemianówka.
Besides the investment in infrastructure, Switzerland is also supporting border control and customs clearance activities in Podlaskie Voivodeship. The focus is on the transfer of knowledge and exchange of experience.