Sunday, September 5, 2021
Refugee dispute with Belarus
Commissioner sees an opportunity for EU asylum policy
Many refugees are still trapped in Lithuania, as they were apparently smuggled across the border from Belarus. A nuisance for the EU, but also an opportunity to finally land a common asylum policy.
According to a highly placed EU commissioner, refugee disputes at the eastern EU border could raise the prospect of a common asylum policy. The situation on Poland’s border with the Baltic states and Belarus is a sign that the time has come for “a more predictable, comprehensive European framework for migration policy,” said the vice-president of the EU Commission responsible for migration. On a trip to Shinas, Lithuania.
It is time to move away from a mode of “fire fighting” in refugee policy and agree on a common “architecture”, Shinas said. According to Shinas, talks on the EU Commission’s final proposal for a common EU migration policy from last year were stalled due to the coronavirus crisis.
In the past few months, thousands of migrants from the Middle East have moved across Latvia, Lithuania and Poland’s borders with Belarus – and thus into the European Union. Authorities are trying to push migrants back before they cross the border and apply for asylum.
Lukashenko’s “primitive abuse” of refugees
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte called on the EU to find a “very fine balance” in preventing “primitive abuse” of international protection provisions for refugees while protecting human rights.
Brussels considers that the border dispute would be counterproductive by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for a decision to be approved by the European Union. It is believed that Belarusian authorities are bringing migrants into the country and smuggling them across the border.
The EU is currently watching with concern not only the situation on its eastern border, but also in Afghanistan. The fear is that seizing power by the radical Islamic Taliban could lead to a new refugee crisis in the region that will eventually reach the European Union. Therefore EU countries want to support Afghanistan’s neighbors in accepting refugees. They are also pressuring the Taliban to implement their promises of respecting human rights.
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