Von der Leyen: Belarus border issue is attempt to destabilise EU
The thousands of migrants on the European Union's eastern borders with Belarus is an attempt by the Minsk regime to destabilise the EU, rather than a migration crisis, the head of the executive European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.
Speaking at the European Parliament, von der Leyen said the 27-nation bloc was standing in solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia which bear the brunt of the policy of Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko to fly migrants from various world hotspots into Belarus and then push them across EU borders.
"It is the EU as a whole that is being challenged," von der Leyen said. "The outrageous behaviour of the Belarussian regime was the focus of my discussions with (U.S.) President (Joe) Biden. We both agreed that this is not a migration crisis, this is the attempt of an authoritarian regime to try and destabilise its democratic neighbours," she added.
"We agreed that to counter this behaviour, it is important to coordinate our sanctions and to work with countries of origin and the airlines that are transporting migrants to Minsk. And this is what we have done, and what we are doing. We are in the process of coordinating our sanctions with the United States, Canada and the UK," she said.
"Members states facing such a hybrid attack must be able to respond effectively to the emergency situation they face. At the same time, they need to respect fundamental rights and international obligations. Both points are crucial, and we need to find a way to reconcile them. We are therefore working on a proposal for provisional emergency measures in the area of asylum and return, based on Article 78.3 of the treaty. The aim is to support member states to set up the right processes, to manage irregular arrivals in a swift and orderly way, in line with fundamental rights," the EU executive chief said.
Von der Leyen also stressed that the situation at the border with Belarus belonged to a broader context. "Recent actions by the Lukashenko regime and its supporters are a determined attempt to create a continuing and protracted crisis. Let me repeat, the European Union does not recognise this regime which violently represses its own people. These actions are part of a concerted effort to destabilize the European Union and our neighbourhood," she emphasised.
She said that to deter intermediaries transporting migrants to Belarus from helping Minsk, the EU would create a watchlist for all means of transport involved in trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
"Today the Commission is putting forward a legislative proposal to do this," she said.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: PAP/EPA/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN