EU on the situation of migrants: “All Europeans must do something about this”

Status: 09.11.2021 5:21 p.m.

Several MEPs have accused the Belarusian ruler, Lukashenko, of abusing people for political ends. You are calling for tougher sanctions – and clear solidarity with Poland.

By Astrid Corall, ARD-Studio Brussels

The Polish opposition politician Roza Thun describes the situation of the people on the Belarusian-Polish border as terrible: “A totally dramatic situation, this is a European border, and all Europeans must do something about this situation.” The MEP sits for the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament and calls, among other things, to stop the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

Astrid Corall
ARD studio Brussels

The EU accuses him of specifically flying people in from crisis regions in order to then bring them to the border with the EU. In order to put the member states under pressure in revenge for sanctions that have already been imposed. There is talk of a “hybrid attack” in Brussels.

Thun’s parliamentary group colleague Manfred Weber (CSU) said that Lukashenko abused people to achieve political goals. Europe must resist these attacks: “That is why border security is important, humanitarian treatment of the people affected there, and further sanctions are necessary. Lukashenko must feel that we are not going to put up with this kind of pressuring Europe. Words are enough changed, now action must follow. “

Further sanctions planned

In response, the EU is partially suspending a visa facilitation agreement with Belarus. It will be more time-consuming and expensive for officials of the Belarusian regime to get a visa to enter the EU. But further punitive measures have been under discussion for a long time, which the ambassadors of the 27 member states could initiate tomorrow.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had also requested further sanctions. Her spokeswoman Dana Spinant said: “The President called on the member states to approve extended sanctions against the Belarusian authorities, and also announced that measures against third country airlines that are involved in human trafficking would be examined.”

According to the Commission, the EU wants to analyze exactly how many and which flights from third countries – such as Iraq, Libya or Tunisia – go to Minsk and back. In addition, Vice President Margaritis Schinas wants to speak to governments in the countries from which the people come in the next few days.

Solidarity with Poland

These are all attempts to react to the current situation. For the Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, who also advocates extensive sanctions, it is important: “The EU must clearly and unequivocally express its common solidarity with Poland. Because Poland is currently being attacked from Belarus with express Russian support.” The EU must continue to offer Poland assistance from Frontex.

However, the government in Warsaw has so far refused to request officials from the European Border Protection Agency or the European Asylum Authority. This is met with incomprehension by some in Brussels. The managing German interior minister Horst Seehofer had nevertheless called for more engagement of the EU in the “Bild”. He explained that the “structural security” of the border was needed.

Help people in the border area quickly

But many people reject the idea that walls and other fences are being built on the Polish border – possibly financed with EU funds. Polish MEP Thun doesn’t think that’s a good solution either. Like others, she called for help to the people in the Polish-Belarusian border area: “Accept asylum applications, analyze them quickly. And those who need asylum should stay in Europe and those who do not meet the criteria should be sent back to their countries of origin . “

Belarus crisis: EU under pressure to act

Astrid Corall, ARD Brussels, November 9th, 2021 4:48 p.m.

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