Sunday, November 28

Migration via the Belarus route: financial aid for Poland or border controls?

Status: October 24, 2021 6:21 p.m.

More and more refugees are coming through Belarus – presumably smuggled by the regime there. While Interior Minister Seehofer is thinking about controls at the German-Polish border, Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer is relying on financial aid for Poland.

Along with Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony is one of the federal states that are directly affected by migration via the Belarus route. Many of the migrants who were presumably deliberately brought to the border with Poland by the Belarusian regime are trying to get to Germany from there – and Saxony shares a border with Poland for more than 100 kilometers.

Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer is therefore calling for greater support from Poland in securing the EU’s external border. Although only because of their local knowledge, only Poland could get involved on the border with Belarus, Kretschmer said on the ARD broadcast “Report from Berlin”. When asked about the financial support for this task, the CDU politician said: “Of course we have to help financially.” With this, Kretschmer opposes EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“State-organized human trafficking”

Kretschmer rejected controls on the border between Germany and Poland. The situation is not comparable to that of 2015 – and the causes are known, says Kretschmer: It is a matter of “state-organized human trafficking” by the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko, who is trying to put the EU under pressure. In addition to supporting the states on the eastern EU external border, one must act “with all strength and all possibilities” against the airlines that are involved in this tug trade, so Kretschmer on the ARD broadcast.

Border controls remain an option for Seehofer

Previously, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had suggested intensive protection of the German-Polish border. So far, the border guard has been reinforced with eight hundred federal police, said the CSU politician of “Bild am Sonntag”. “If necessary, I am ready to step up there even further. We will closely monitor the border area and the green border with Poland.”

Seehofer also did not rule out the introduction of regular border controls. “If the situation at the German-Polish border does not relax, it must also be considered here whether this step should be taken,” he said in the newspaper interview. in the “Report from Berlin” he said later, if Europe cannot manage a common asylum pact, “then national measures will come – and in a Europe of free movement nobody can really wish for that.”

“Maybe the PiS government is rethinking”

The co-party leader of the Greens, Robert Habeck, called for solidarity with Poland and would like to distribute the refugees from Belarus in Europe. It is important to help Poland, he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. “And we have to remember that humanitarian standards must be met.”

The Polish government, led by the national-conservative party PiS, has so far been strictly against the redistribution of refugees within the EU. But while the refugee crisis in 2015/2016 mainly affected the countries on the Mediterranean, in this case it is now those on the border with Belarus – and thus also Poland. “Maybe the PiS government is rethinking,” said Habeck.

“You have to show right-wing extremists a clear edge”

Meanwhile, right-wing extremists are apparently trying to use the situation for their own purposes. The police in Brandenburg picked up more than 50 people, some of whom were armed, on the Polish border near Guben who wanted to prevent migrants from entering Germany. Pepper sprays, a bayonet, a machete and batons were seized during identity checks, the police said.

Some of those apprehended came from Brandenburg, but had also come from Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin and Bavaria. They had been sent off and left the region around Guben. The people followed the call of the right-wing extremist splinter party “The Third Way” for a so-called “border crossing”, it said.

Prime Minister Kretschmer also made the AfD jointly responsible, which had become the strongest force in the federal election in Saxony. Groups like “The Third Way” have “an overlap with the AfD,” said Kretschmer. Germany is a country shaped by Christianity, and anyone who comes here as a refugee must be treated decently, no matter how little they have a legal right to stay in Germany. “We are human and we treat other people humanely. And you have to show these right-wing extremists a clear edge.”

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