Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Szimonyte issued a joint statement on Friday. In it, they condemned “the use by the Lukashenka regime of illegal migration as a weapon aimed at exerting political pressure on the European Union and its individual Member States.”
The joint statement of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Szimonyte was posted on Friday on Twitter by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. It emphasized that as the hybrid war started by the Belarusian regime against the European Union continued, the main targets on Lukashenka’s list were Belarus’s neighbors, Lithuania and Poland. It was pointed out that Lithuania is currently at the forefront of illegal migration flows sponsored by the Belarusian state.
“We condemn the use of illegal migration by the Lukashenka regime as a weapon to exert political pressure on the EU and its individual Member States. This once again demonstrates the cynical nature of the Belarusian regime and proves the need for swift response and joint EU action to meet this challenge. Lithuania, together with Poland and other EU Member States, as well as relevant international organizations, is fighting this hybrid threat and is doing everything possible to preserve the integrity of the EU’s eastern border. Poland supports Lithuania and jointly fulfills its obligation to protect the EU’s external borders by cooperating to this end with the EU institutions, “reads the statement.
Appeal to EU institutions
It also calls on the European Commission, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the European Asylum Support Office, all EU Member States and non-EU partners “for political and real support in facing this challenge”.
“There are no signs of improvement on the EU’s eastern border, and the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border with Belarus continues to grow, reaching several hundred people a day. In this unprecedented situation for our region, Lithuania and Poland call on the EU and its member states to continue and increase the urgent diplomatic , financial and technical support for Lithuania in its fight against the consequences of the criminal actions of the Lukashenka regime, “the statement emphasized.
“We call on the EU institutions to use all means at their disposal to cut the new illegal migration route as quickly as possible as soon as it is created. Moreover, we call on the EU and its Member States to use this impulse to strengthen our common EU migration and asylum policy, and to renew it. rethink our approach to border protection. We firmly believe that protecting the external borders of the Schengen area is not only the responsibility of individual Member States, but also a shared responsibility of the EU. Therefore, it should be given appropriate political attention at EU level and appropriate financial resources must be allocated to it. ” – wrote the prime ministers of Lithuania and Poland.
They stressed that Lithuania and Poland stressed the need for “a swift and decisive response to the actions of the Belarusian regime and all those involved in organizing and facilitating the smuggling of illegal migrants”, including by extending EU restrictive measures to the Belarusian regime.
Szynkowski vel Sęk: The Polish-Belarusian border is well protected
The situation on the border with Belarus was commented on Friday by Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk in an interview with TVN24. He stated that the Polish-Belarusian border is “assessed by experts and EU institutions as one of the best protected borders of the European Union, also in terms of all risks.”
– The border guard monitors this traffic very closely, but this border is well protected. Of course, we see elements, in particular, this affects the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, this intensified migratory pressure. We also notice such a phenomenon on the Belarusian-Polish border, and here the border is, as I say, very well secured – he said.
He noted that “our safety is a priority”. – The border guard is ready to respond also to these challenges and increased migratory pressure – he said.
He added that Poland helps Lithuanian partners to protect their border, “not forgetting our own border, which is our priority”.
The growing migration problem intensified at the end of May. This year, over 4,000 people illegally crossed the green border from Belarus to Lithuania. people. In the whole of 2020, only 81 migrants were detained. Vilnius is convinced that the influx of immigrants is the result of Minsk’s actions, which is thus reacting to EU sanctions and Lithuanian support for the Belarusian opposition.
A regulation of the Ministry of the Interior of Lithuania has been in force since Monday, allowing border guards to return migrants who are trying to get from Belarus to Lithuania in forbidden places. They are directed to border crossings or to diplomatic missions.
Last day, Lithuanian border guards detained two migrants, and over 100 people were returned to Belarus. Overall, more than 700 migrants have been turned back this week.
Lithuania’s border with Belarus is 670 km.
Main photo source: Valdemar Doveiko / PAP / EPA