BBC’s Adler warns EU to spiral into new migrant crisis
During the geopolitical confrontation unravelling at the Belarus-Poland border, the European Commission has been forced to come up with plans to try and stop the crisis.
A new draft law will apply to all kinds of transport and will empower the executive to suspend a range of rights, including the right to provide transport services.
On Tuesday, the Commission announced £3 million (€3.5 million) for voluntary returns and £590,500(€700,000) in humanitarian assistance and an extra £170 million (€200 million) for border management in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, Euronews reports.
President Von Der Leyen told MEPs: “Member States facing such a hybrid attack must be able to respond effectively to the emergency situation they face.”
She added: “At the same time, they need to respect fundamental rights and international obligations fully. Both points are crucial, and we need to find a way to reconcile them.”
European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, during a meeting with EL PAÍS, said: “We will be able to do a lot with this new rule, but let’s hope we don’t have to use it.
“We can never be satisfied of course, as people have died thanks to Lukashenko.”
Migrants at Belarus / Poland border.
“This new legal basis is the response to a new method of human trafficking.”
She also added this is now more a geopolitical crisis, than a migration crisis.
Further, Ms Johansson tweeted: “The situation in #Belarus is starting to de-escalate. We can never be satisfied of course, as people have died thanks to Lukashenko, but we can be satisfied with the EU joint and unified response.
“More proof why we need progress on #MigrationEU proposals.”
The rule aims to prevent airlines or other means of transport from facilitating the arrival of migrants to a neighbouring country that only seeks to put pressure on the EU.
Still, it does not affect the people or organisations that rescue potential refugees.
The Commission announced £3 million (€3.5 million) for voluntary returns.
Lukashenko has made Belarus a priority for people from third countries trying to reach Europe.
According to El Pais, unlike other Brussels sanctioning regimes, the new one does not require a direct link between the sanctioned company and its intention to attack the EU.
It will be enough for a company’s services to be used by an aggressor regime for it to be sanctioned, even if it maintains its normal operations.
Once the new regime enters into force, transport companies used to carry out such trafficking will risk being banned from operating in the EU market.
Inclusion on this list will entail severe sanctions up to the point of losing access to the EU market.
In the case of airlines, the veto will prevent them from landing or taking off at EU airports, even for stopovers or refuelling.
They will also be banned from flying over European airspace.
The set of bans makes it virtually impossible for any international airline to be used by regimes such as that of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, as they would lose access to the crucial European market and airspace.
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Ursula Von Der Leyen
Since the signing of the International Refugee Convention in 1951 and up to 2016, 75 attempts to exploit population displacement as a political weapon have been recorded globally, according to Professor Kelly M. Greenhill in a study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
But in the past two years, the frequency of attacks on the EU seems to have increased.
In February 2020, Turkey threatened to unleash a torrent of Syrian refugees towards Greek borders as a pressure measure in various negotiations with Brussels.
The EU’s forceful response, which helped Athens shield the borders, and the arrival of the pandemic cleared the threat from Ankara.
Since June, Lukashenko has made his country a priority destination for people from third countries aspiring to reach the EU.
Johansson said: “The man who has been described as Europe’s last dictator has not only been repressing his own people, but has also started selling tickets that supposedly entitle you to EU membership,”
Ylva Johansson tweeted: “The situation in #Belarus is starting to de-escalate.”
“Belarus is a country to flee from, not a country you want to fly to,”
Johansson claims that Lukashenko’s deception has cost potential migrants “between 10,000 and 20,000 euros per trip” and that, once in Belarus, “they have even had death threats [from Belarusian security forces] to force them to try to cross the EU border.”
The new sanctions regime will allow for an even more expeditious response to future migration crises by sanctioning airlines that are reluctant to cut off the flow of people.
According to Professor Greenhill, the EU is thus shielding itself from the kind of provoked migration crises that have allowed their inciters to achieve part of their political objectives 75% of the time and or near-complete victory over the past seven decades in more than half.