Statement by President von der Leyen on the situation at the border between Poland and Belarus
Yesterday evening, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the following statement on the situation at the border between Poland and Belarus: “Belarus must stop putting people’s lives at risk. The instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes by Belarus is unacceptable. The Belarusian authorities must understand that pressuring the European Union in this way through a cynical instrumentalisation of migrants will not help them succeed in their purposes. I have spoken to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš to express the EU’s solidarity and discuss with them the measures the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with this crisis. I am calling on Member States to finally approve the extended sanctions regime on the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack. Vice-President Schinas, in coordination with High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, will travel in the coming days to the main countries of origin and of transit to ensure that they act to prevent their own nationals from falling into the trap set by the Belarusian authorities. The EU will in particular explore how to sanction, including through blacklisting, third country airlines that are active in human trafficking. Finally, the Commission will explore with the UN and its specialised agencies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding and to ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.” The full statement is available online.