In view of the influx of thousands of refugees at Poland’s external EU border with Belarus, calls for active support from Brussels are getting louder.
Brussels – “Poland or Germany cannot cope with that alone,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) of the “Bild” newspaper (Tuesday edition). Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned of a threat to EU security. Representatives of the member states in Brussels agreed to tighten sanctions against Belarus.
“We have to help the Polish government secure the external border. That would actually be the task of the EU Commission,” said Seehofer. The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko abuses the fate of the refugees “to destabilize the West” and is supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Today the stability and security of the entire EU is at stake,” said Morawiecki on the online service Twitter. This “hybrid attack by Lukashenko’s regime” – that is, the use of attack methods while concealing tactics – is directed against the entire European community.
The EU countries Poland, Latvia and Lithuania recorded thousands of illegal border crossings from Belarus in the past few months. A spokesman for the Polish government announced on Monday that 3,000 to 4,000 migrants had gathered near the Polish border. Many of them want to go to Germany.
The EU accuses Lukashenko of deliberately allowing people from the Middle East to be brought to Belarus and the border with the EU. The action is in retaliation for sanctions decisions taken in Brussels.
The EU imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to the crackdown on the democracy protests against Lukashenko, which began after Lukashenko’s controversial re-election in August 2020. Now the EU states have agreed to make the issuing of visas to other people from Belarus much more difficult.
The Minsk government denied the allegations and warned Poland against “illegal acts of war” against the refugees.
Poland had reacted to the increasing number of people on its border with a massive increase in the number of border guards, the erection of a barbed wire fence and the imposition of a state of emergency in the border area. So-called pushbacks have also been legalized.
Human rights organizations sharply criticized. Pushbacks that prevent an asylum application from being made are illegal under international law. “Instead of calling for walls and barbed wire fences to be built to ward off refugees, German politics must campaign for a humanitarian solution and the validity of human rights in Europe without restrictions,” demands Günter Burkhardt from Pro Asyl.
Seehofer took Poland under protection and welcomed the construction of the border system. “We have to publicly support the Poles. We cannot criticize them for protecting the EU’s external border with permissible means,” said the executive minister of “Bild”. “Not with the use of firearms, of course, but with the other options that exist.”
The German Advisory Council on Integration and Migration (SVR) also calls on the EU to act quickly. “The European Union is now asked to use all means of foreign policy to counteract this,” said chairwoman Petra Bendel. At the same time, however, the SVR emphasized that people arriving via Belarus generally have a right to an asylum procedure in the EU.
Migration researcher Gerald Knaus warned that Lukashenko’s tactic could work. “A still manageable number of people whom he has lured into the trap is causing the entire European Union to panic,” he told the broadcasters RTL and ntv. Lukashenko portrays the EU as perplexed and hypocritical because it violates its own values at the external border.
pe / dja