The European Union wants to “blacklist” airlines that carry migrants to Belarus who later try to cross the EU border, the European Commission said. A diplomatic source in Brussels told PAP that Turkish Airlines will announce a ban on the sale of tickets for flights to Belarus for citizens of the countries of origin of irregular migrants, including Iraq and Syria.
EC spokeswoman Dana Spinant said that, as announced by President Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission will look at legal ways to impose sanctions, including blacklisting airlines carrying migrants to Belarus who later try to cross the EU border.
There is a growing awareness in Brussels and EU capitals that in order to stop the escalation of the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, it is necessary to limit the influx of migrants to Belarus by air. On this matter, behind-the-scenes talks are being held with non-EU countries whose airlines fly to this country. – The pressure started to bear fruit. Turkish Airlines today (Thursday) will announce a ban on the sale of tickets to nationals of the countries of origin of irregular migrants, incl. Iraq and Syria, for flights to Belarus. They also decided to limit cooperation with Belarusian Belavia airlines. Similar actions apply to Emirates, one of high-ranking EU diplomats told PAP in Brussels. According to unofficial information from PAP, the main air hubs through which migrants get to Belarus are Istanbul, Dubai and Moscow. Emirates is headquartered in Dubai.
The crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. The EU is working on a sanctions package
EU countries are currently working on the swift adoption of another package of sanctions against representatives of the Belarusian regime and entities responsible for the crisis at the border. However, it is already said in Brussels that after their adoption, work on the next sanctions package against Minsk will begin, the sources say.
– Work on the sanctions accelerated after the escalation of the situation at the Polish-Belarusian border. There is a chance that they will be adopted during Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, an EU source recently told PAP.
According to unofficial information from PAP, about 30 people and entities responsible for the escalation of the situation at the Polish-Belarusian border are to be sanctioned. They are to be measured, inter alia, in the Belarusian airline Belavia.
The media indicate that the restrictions imposed on senior Belarusian officials have not been sufficiently effective so far in undermining Lukashenka’s rule, hence the conviction in Brussels that they need to be tightened.
This is not the end, however. – After the adoption of the package that the capitals are currently working on, the EU will probably start work on further restrictions on Minsk, a high-ranking EU diplomat told PAP.
Ursula von der Leyen on sanctions
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on Member States on Monday to finally approve an extended system of sanctions against the Belarusian authorities responsible for a hybrid attack on the Union’s external borders.
She also indicated that the EU would investigate how to impose sanctions on third-country airlines that smuggle people.
She also said that she had talked with the Polish prime minister, the prime minister of Lithuania and the prime minister of Latvia to express the solidarity of other EU countries and discuss with them measures that the EU could take to support these countries in their efforts to deal with this crisis.
Main photo source: Shutterstock