Summit in Brussels: EU divided – on almost everything


Status: 10/22/2021 1:18 p.m.

Some want border fences, others want further sanctions – a united EU approach to migration via Belarus is not in sight. No rapprochement is on the way in energy policy or in the dispute with Poland.

By Stephan Ueberbach, ARD-Studio Brussels

Lithuania, Poland and Latvia – especially the three direct neighbors of Belarus are campaigning for crackdown on the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Because the ruler in Minsk is still allowing people from North Africa and the Middle East to fly in and then send them further west to Europe. The Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas calls the current situation at the EU’s borders with Belarus “extremely worrying”.

We certainly do not see migrants as a threat, but the fact that migrants are used as an instrument against the EU is a hybrid attack and we need a strong joint response from the European Union.

Stephan Ueberbach
ARD studio Brussels

Border fence required

According to Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, this includes “better protection of Europe’s external borders so that the EU can continue to be open and migration is controlled and legal”. Lithuania’s Prime Minister Gitanas Nauseda also wants to “talk about fences and border barriers as a short-term measure to deal with this crisis”. Because: Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.

The entire European Union should contribute financially to the construction of such border fences or walls, believes the new Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, pointing out that funds are expressly planned for this in the EU budget: “If Lithuania does what is necessary for the To guarantee national sovereignty, namely to build a fence, why should this financial burden only be borne by the Lithuanian taxpayers when they actually protect us all? “

Further sanctions against Belarus?

Further economic sanctions against the Belarusian regime are also under discussion. Among other things, the EU has its sights set on airlines that fly migrants into Minsk on behalf of the management or provide aircraft for this purpose under a leasing contract.

Chancellor Angela Merkel believes it is right to increase the pressure on Belarus “in order to make it clear that we condemn this type of human trafficking on the part of the state. Of course, other countries also have problems with migration, Germany is particularly affected by secondary migration, and it is and remains bad that we have not found a common line on the issue of migration, even though the Commission has made very good proposals here “.

No agreement on energy prices and in litigation

But the EU is also standing still in other areas: During the night, for example, the summit was unable to agree on joint measures to curb high energy prices. First, the reasons for the increase in costs should be examined in more detail. In addition, the countries would have to decide for themselves how they want to support their consumers.

There is also no solution in sight to the dispute over the independence of the judiciary in Poland. Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander de Croo still rates the talks as helpful. A large majority of the member states had backed the EU Commission. The Von-der-Leyen team wants to start the so-called rule of law mechanism in the next few weeks, which allows funding to be cut in the event of violations of European fundamental rights under certain conditions. In the opinion of the European Parliament, this step is long overdue.

EU summit: Belarus, refugees as weapons and new fences

Stephan Ueberbach, ARD Brussels, 10/22/2021 11:53 a.m.


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