EU to watch for fraud, trafficking at Euro 2012

EU authorities said Thursday they will be on watch for a spike in customs fraud and human trafficking during the European football championship, as the bloc’s border lies between hosts Poland andUkraine.

“The challenge for border guards at events like Euro 2012 is the management of large passenger flows across the borders,” said Gil Arias Fernandez, deputy head of European Union border agency Frontex.

“Our risk analyses say that criminal networks may try to hide the smuggling of cigarettes, petrol, et cetera, as well as stolen vehicles, taking advantage of the increased traffic at border crossing points,” he told reporters.

“There is also a risk of concealing the traffic of human beings in the midst of these flows, mainly women for prostitution purposes,” he added.

On Monday, Poland announced that during the championship, which runs from June 8 to July 1, it would reintroduce controls on its borders with EU neighbours Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania.

Such checks were dropped in December 2007 when Poland joined Europe’s travel-smoothingSchengen zone, which now comprises 26 countries, including several non-EU members.

Schengen rules allow members to resume border controls in certain cases, notably when large numbers are expected to flock into a country — and Euro 2012 is expected to draw more than a million people.

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