The eastward expansion of the European Union tomorrow might officially signal the end of Europe's ideological division but it will mean little to the Polish cleaning women in Berlin. Fearing it will be overrun by hordes of cheap labourers, Germany has restricted the right to work of citizens from the EU's 10 new members, mostly former communist countries from Eastern Europe. So for the thousands of Polish women who already clean the houses and apartments of Germans illegally, nothing much will change when Poland hoists the blue and gold EU flag alongside its own next month. Germany is not alone in harbouring reservations about the newcomers, as all but two of the old 15 EU states will impose similar employment restrictions. But the country's frontline status - Berlin is only 90km from the Polish border - makes concerns particularly acute. Once on the eastward edge of prosperous Western Europe, Germany will now be at the heart of a 25-member bloc stretching from the Atlantic to Russia's doorstep. As one of the world's top exporting economies, Germany is well placed to tap the rapidly growing markets in Poland, the Czech Republic and beyond. But as the labour controls illustrate, Germans remain sceptical of enlargement despite potentially being its biggest beneficiaries. 'I believe the Germans know far too little about their neighbours,' said Beate Klemm, a 30-year-old graduate student born and raised in the German border town of Frankfurt an der Oder. She said many city residents were awaiting enlargement with an equal measure of hope and hesitation. That conflicting attitude towards Europe's new political reality also reaches the highest levels in Berlin. In an interview with Focus magazine this week, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stuck to the government's pro-expansion position: 'Germany is and will remain the biggest winner of the EU's enlargement.' But at the same time, he reiterated concerns about what Berlin considers unfair tax and wage competition from the new EU members. Germany's chronically high unemployment rate means Berlin is likely to keep work restrictions on new EU citizens for the maximum allowed seven years. Poland is also delaying aspects of integration. Warsaw has negotiated a 12-year ban on foreigners buying farmland and other types of real estate since many Poles are worried Germans may buy back land that belonged to Germany before the second world war.