In reaction to “Hybrid attack” launched by Minsk, accused of organizing an influx of migrants at the borders of the European Union (EU), it suspended, Tuesday, November 9, provisions to facilitate the issuance of visas for officials of the Belarusian regime.
This decision of the Twenty-Seven endorses a proposal submitted by the European Commission at the end of September. It comes as tension builds on the border with Poland, which is blocking the passage of groups of migrants from Belarus and has deployed thousands of troops, and as the EU considers further sanctions against the regime. by Alexander Lukashenko.
The measure approved on Tuesday “Will not affect” Belarusian citizens “Ordinary people, who will continue to enjoy, under the agreement to facilitate the issuance of visas, the same advantages as they currently enjoy”, precise a statement of the Council of the EU, an institution representing the Member States.
Paris accuses Minsk of seeking to “destabilize the EU”
“We strongly condemn and reject the further instrumentalization of migration by the Belarusian regime. It is unacceptable that Belarus is playing with the lives of human beings for political ends ”said Slovenian Interior Minister Ales Hojs, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency. “Today’s decision testifies once again to our common will to continue to fight against this ongoing hybrid attack”, he added.
The provisions facilitating the issuance of visas, in particular with regard to supporting documents and reduction of rights, are suspended for members of official Belarusian delegations, members of national and regional governments and parliaments as well as of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts. “In the performance of their duties”.
The EU accuses Minsk of having orchestrated, since June, the transit of migrants to the EU, through Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, in retaliation for the sanctions imposed by the EU following the crackdown on the EU. opposition in Belarus. The Belarusian regime “Feeds migrant smuggling aimed at destabilizing the EU”, thus estimated Paris, reiterating the “Solidarity” of France with respect to Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
New sanctions envisaged
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko retorted on Tuesday that his country does not “To put[ait] not on your knees “ facing the EU. “We are not looking for a fight”, he said in an interview, excerpts from which were published by the public agency Belta. “I’m not crazy, I fully understand where all this can lead. (…) We know where our place is, but neither will we kneel ”Mr Lukashenko added.
On Monday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called on member states to approve new sanctions against Belarusian authorities and to consider measures against airlines that bring migrants to Belarus.
The new sanctions are to be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday. The first economic sanctions adopted at the end of June hit key potash, oil and tobacco sectors. Individual EU sanctions against Belarusian regime officials currently target 166 people, including the president and two of his sons.
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Migrant crisis: Brussels tightens visa granting for Belarusian officials