The Polish authorities rejected the measures proposed by the European Commission (EC) to resolve the situation with migrants on the border with Belarus. The extension of the deadline for registration and consideration of asylum applications is counterproductive, Polish Ambassador to the European Union Andrzej Sados said on Wednesday, December 1. In his opinion, the process of granting asylum to migrants should be completely suspended.
In connection with the influx of migrants, primarily from the Middle East, near the external borders of the EU with Belarus, the European Commission proposed to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to introduce temporary – for the next six months – measures to facilitate the asylum procedure. According to a press release from the EC, published on December 1, if Brussels’ proposal is accepted, the EU states will have the opportunity to increase the registration period for asylum applications to four weeks instead of the currently relying on 3 to 10 days, and at strictly defined border checkpoints … This will make it possible to check applications directly at the border, and the duration of the entire procedure can be up to 16 weeks.
Andrzej Sados believes that these measures will only lead to an “excessive burden” on Poland, Latvia and Lithuania when considering asylum applications. “The European Commission made a decision that is exactly the opposite of what we proposed,” he said.
Brussels blames Lukashenka for the situation with migrants
For several weeks, thousands of migrants have been trying to cross the Belarusian border and enter the EU. Brussels accuses Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately redirecting migrant flows from crisis regions to Minsk, in order to then smuggle them into the EU in order to destabilize the situation in the West. To stop migrants, Belarus’ neighboring EU countries have erected barbed wire fences on their eastern borders.
According to the European Commission, almost eight thousand migrants have already moved to the European Union through Belarus since the beginning of the year. Of these, almost 4,300 penetrated into Lithuania, about 3,200 – into Poland and more than 400 – into Latvia.
On Thursday, new EU sanctions will come into force against those involved in the delivery of migrants to Belarus for their further transfer to the external borders of the European Union. On December 1, the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU member states unanimously supported a package of corresponding penalties, which must now be approved by the EU Council. The publication of the decision on the sanctions in the official EU journal is scheduled for December 2.