Parallel Audit of Assurance of Epizootic Safety in the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Lithuania and the Slovak Republic after Accession to the Schengen Area
Report ID: 117

Once Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia entered the Schengen Area, their eastern borders became the external border of the European Union and, simultaneously, the first stage of the transfer of animals from the east to the Community. The three states are obliged to protect their borders properly also with regard to epizootic safety, defined as the prevention of and protection against hazards caused by infectious animal diseases transmissible to humans.

The national border protection system has been adapted to EU requirements in terms of legal and operational regulations for border services, including for preventing epizootic hazards from spreading across the EU. These responsibilities result from the EU Treaty and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement.

Since epizootic safety is an issue of high importance, in 2010 the NIK and the SAIs of Lithuania and Slovakia decided to check whether the borders of their countries were protected appropriately through a parallel audit. The audit was conducted between 1st April 2010 and 15th September 2010, and covered the period between 1st January 2007 and 31st December 2009.

The agreement to conduct such joint audit was made pursuant to the exchange of Letters of Intent among the heads of the three SAIs as well as previous bilateral agreements signed among them.

The audit topics covered included the following areas:

- whether national legislation had been adapted to EU regulations in the audited area,

 - whether the recommendations issued following the audit conducted by the Food and Veterinary Office, Directorate General of Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO), European Commission had been implemented in national regulations, within the audited areas,

- whether the applicable procedures had been adapted to current epizootic risks and for the event of emergency situations, including those related to controlled, uncontrolled or illegal movement of animals from non-EU countries,

 - whether the institutions responsible for epizootic safety were able to cope with emergency on the local and national levels,

 - whether the epizootic safety system has been adapted to make information on epizootic hazard available to the public, on the national and local levels.