Ursula von der Leyen on the “hybrid attack” of Belarus and the EU’s solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia

We are in solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia – assured the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. She announced that “the hybrid attack by Belarus is a challenge for the entire EU”. She added that the aim of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s actions is to test the determination and unity of the Community.

“Belarus is leading a hybrid attack on the EU. This is a challenge for the entire Union. We stand in solidarity alongside Lithuania, Poland and Latvia” – emphasized the head of the European Commission in the Tuesday post on Twitter.

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“The EU is taking action in four areas: humanitarian aid, diplomatic contacts with (migrants) countries of origin, sanctions and border protection,” added von der Leyen.

Poland, Lithuania and Latvia “bear the main burden” of Minsk’s policy

Speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU stands in solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, who bear the main burden of the policy of the Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, to “deliver” migrants from various countries of the world where conflicts are ongoing, to Belarus and then “push” them across the borders of the EU.

“This is a challenge for the entire European Union,” said von der Leyen, quoted by the Reuters Agency. – This is not a migration crisis. This is an attempt by the authoritarian regime to destabilize its democratic neighbors, she added.

The president of the European Commission also informed that the EU cooperates with the United States, Great Britain and Canada. – We agreed that to counteract this behavior, it is important to coordinate our sanctions and cooperate with the countries of origin of migrants and the airlines that deliver them to Minsk. This is what we did and we do. We are in the process of negotiating our sanctions with the US, Canada and the UK, she announced.

Brussels does not recognize the regime

Ursula von der Leyen also recalled that the EU did not recognize the Belarusian regime. She added that the aim of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s actions is to test the determination and unity of the Community.

– What happened on the border with Belarus belongs to a wider context. The recent actions by the Lukashenka regime and its supporters are a determined attempt to create a lasting and prolonged crisis. Let me repeat: the EU does not recognize this regime that brutally represses its own people, announced the President of the European Commission.

This is not a migration crisis. This is an attempt by an authoritarian regime to destabilize its democratic neighbors

– His actions are part of the coordinated efforts to destabilize the European Union and our neighborhood. This is especially true of Ukraine and Moldova. These actions constitute a real and current threat to the security of our Union. These activities go beyond Belarus. They test our determination and unity. But the European Union has the will, unity and determination to face this and future crises, declared von der Leyen.

The EU is united and is taking action

The president of the European Commission announced that attempts to destabilize the EU by instrumentalizing people would not work. – The EU is united and is taking various actions to solve the problem with the situation at the EU’s external borders with Belarus – stated President Ursula von der Leyen.

– Today we are presenting a new proposal to blacklist carriers that smuggle or traffick people into the EU, as I announced two weeks ago. We will never accept the use of people for political purposes, she emphasized.

Blacklisting any type of transport operator – land, air, inland waterways or sea – would be done on a case-by-case basis.

Among the repercussions, the European Commission proposes the possibility of restricting operations on the EU market, suspending licenses or permits, suspending the right to refuel or carry out repairs in the EU, as well as a ban on transit or over the airspace of the Community, or a ban on calling at ports in the EU.

Closing flights

Also, the deputy head of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, said that as part of the response to the security crisis caused by Belarus on the border with Poland, the European Commission is proposing to blacklist carriers involved in facilitating people smuggling into the Community.

– The Belarusian regime and international smuggling networks are selling a lie to ordinary people. What is happening at our borders is not a question of migration but of security. The EU shows it will be adamant in its response. (…) The black list that we propose today is another tangible proof of our will to act decisively. This is a global problem and we need to build an international coalition against the use of people as political tools, said Schinas.

Flights from Baghdad via Dubai, Beirut, Istanbul, Damascus and Tashkent have been suspended. Europe counted on its friends and there are many of them. We make it clear that there are no gaps to be exploited in the partnerships the European Union maintains around the world. Because the case goes far beyond the borders of Europe

He also informed that the transit routes used by smugglers to bring migrants to the Belarusian border are being closed one by one.

– Flights from Baghdad via Dubai, Beirut, Istanbul, Damascus and Tashkent have been suspended. Europe counted on its friends and there are many of them. We make it clear that there are no gaps to be exploited in the partnerships the European Union maintains around the world. As the issue extends well beyond the borders of Europe – it is a matter of global concern when innocent people are abused, he stressed.

As the deputy head of the European Commission added, a global coalition is being built to oppose the instrumentalisation of migrants. – President von der Leyen raised the matter at international level and with key partners, including the United States. On November 11, at the request of the EU, a closed session of the UN Security Council was held. Our Member States are also fully committed to the “Team Europe” approach, added Schinas.

Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council, at the seat of the European Parliament CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / PAP / EPA

Security crisis

– This is not a migration crisis. This is not a migration issue. This is a security crisis – added the deputy head of the European Commission, emphasizing that it was about destabilizing the European Union. – We have to call a spade a spade and say what these actions are: a determined attempt to create a continuous and prolonged crisis as part of a wider, joint effort to destabilize the European Union, testing its unity and determination. This is not a migration crisis. It is not a question of migration: it is a security crisis, Schinas pointed out.

– Poland’s borders are being tested. Lithuanian and Latvian borders as well. But these are the limits of Europe. A challenge for one is a challenge for all. The EU has strongly condemned and continues to strongly condemn this instrumentalisation of people. The European Council identified this risk at its meetings in June and October. And the president, von der Leyen, appeared in front of this chamber in September and made it clear that it would not be tolerated, he stressed.

– The Belarusian regime is trying to divert attention from the terrifying situation inside the country, taking advantage of people’s desperation and pushing them towards the borders of the EU. It will not succeed. In response, we have expanded our sanctions system and are adopting another package of measures against the perpetrators of this hybrid attack by the Lukashenka regime, said Josep Borrell, the head of EU diplomacy.

Ongoing crisis

There is a migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, triggered in the opinion of the West by the authorities in Minsk, accused of waging a hybrid war. Poland and other EU member states claim that Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s actions are retaliation for sanctions against Belarus for violating human rights.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / CHRISTIAN HARTMANN

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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