Poland wants all aid, except from the European Union

The border crisis with Belarus demonstrates once again that Poland prefers to have as little to do with European rules as possible.AFP photo

No one knows exactly where this rumor came from, but the German Foreign Ministry is trying to debunk it with all its might. No, the ministry says in several languages ​​on Twitter, we don’t come by bus to the Poland-Belarus border to pick up migrants.

Last weekend, that story relayed word of mouth along the border fence separating Poland from Belarus. On the Polish side is an ever-growing army of border guards, and on the other side of the barbed wire are thousands of people hoping to enter the European Union. Entire families came from far and wide with the promise that they would be allowed free passage from Minsk to Germany or the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister of Lithuania told the press on Monday that people in the border strip from the Belarusian side are now being instructed to storm the Polish border. It started last weekend.

According to Polish media, groups of people tried to break through the fence in more than 50 places, most of them to no avail. Dozens who managed to do this a bit were caught and unceremoniously thrown over to the other side of the barbed wire.

In fact, it is not allowed to push people across the border, but Poland does it anyway. The area is under a state of emergency, and a recently passed law allows Polish border guards to bypass what European rules already allow. The same law also ensures that journalists remain ignorant of exactly what is happening around those boundaries.

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border crisis

The border crisis with Belarus demonstrates once again that Poland prefers to have as little to do with European rules as possible. Brussels has already offered a lot of help, from the Frontex border security service, for example, but Poland always refuses such help. “We have soldiers, Frontex is responsible,” the Polish government said. Warsaw sent 12,000 soldiers to the border, where 8,000 border guards were already stationed.

But the government itself has gratefully accepted help from the non-EU UK, even though it consists of a small group of ten logistic staff. They will help lay the barbed wire. Later, by the summer, Poland will replace half of this barbed wire with a fence about 6 meters high with a length of 200 kilometers.

The fence will cost 350 million euros. The battle still rages among Brussels’ institutions over whether the European Union will contribute to it. European Council member states want to do this, but Commission President Ursula von der Leyen opposes it.

Meanwhile, Poland also prefers that the European Union not interfere: representatives of the ruling Law and Justice party in the European Parliament indicate to their citizens that any offer from Brussels is subject to difficult conditions.

Perhaps that is why Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his government are now demanding support from countries other than the European Union. “NATO must act,” he said. “This is a matter for the entire alliance.”

In the cold neutral zone on the eastern side of Poland, there is still no help for about 4,000 displaced people.  Environmental Protection Agency's photo

In the cold neutral zone on the eastern side of Poland, there is still no help for about 4,000 displaced people.Environmental Protection Agency’s photo

The interest of the United States has been aroused. There, the government is convinced that the Belarus case will suit President Vladimir Putin, because it “distracts from what the Russians are doing in Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.

Meanwhile, Poland warns that the situation at the border could continue for months, even if the European Union’s efforts to choke off the supply of people to Minsk are entirely successful. On Monday, Commissioner Margaritis Schinas went to Afghanistan to explain to the Taliban how Afghan civilians are being lured into Minsk by the Belarusian government. Since Schinas made it clear to Turkey and Libya, citizens of Iraq, Syria or Yemen can no longer book a ticket to Belarus there. Schinas hopes other countries will follow suit.

EU foreign affairs coordinator Borrell spoke with the hope that flights from at least a dozen countries to Minsk are “close to completion”, but that there is already a new route. Now people come across Moscow. And in the cold no-man’s land on the eastern side of Poland, there is still no help for some four thousand displaced people.

Brussels expands punitive measures

The European Union has escalated its sanctions policy against Belarus. By broadening the criteria for those sanctions, it is now possible to target people and institutions directly involved in the active collection and redirection of migrants to the borders of EU countries. The 27 EU ministers approved the move.

“The decision reflects the EU’s determination to act against the exploitation of migrants for political purposes,” said EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. “We are resisting this inhuman and illegal practice.”

Since last summer, the European Union has already adopted four sanctions packages against the regime in Minsk.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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