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Migration: Von der Leyen on Belarus-Poland. “Attempt by Lukashenko regime to destabilise its democratic neighbours”

(Photo SIR/European Parliament)

(from Strasbourg) “A state-sponsored instrumentalisation of people for political ends” – this is how the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called the situation of migrants on the Poland-Belarus border. “This is not a bilateral issue of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania with Belarus. It is the EU as a whole that is being challenged”. The responsibility for the current tragedy lies with “the Lukashenko regime”, which has lured “people to the border, with the cooperation of migrant smugglers and criminal networks”. The President said that she had spoken to Joe Biden on her visit to the White House a few days ago. “We both agreed that this is not a migration crisis. This is the attempt of an authoritarian regime to try to destabilise its democratic neighbours. A regime that held fraudulent elections and violently represses its own people. A regime which we do not recognise. And this cynical blackmail has had just the opposite effect: the whole of Europe stands united in solidarity with Lithuania, Poland and Latvia on this issue”. Von der Leyen said that now “Europe is acting on four tracks: humanitarian support; diplomatic outreach to countries of origin; sanctions against people and entities in Belarus and sanctions against transport operators facilitating human trafficking and smuggling; protection” of the EU border.

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