EU steps up response to border crisis with Belarus

Brussels/Moscow, Nov 23 (EFE).- The EU on Tuesday threatened to blacklist airlines and travel operators involved in or facilitating human trafficking to the bloc.

The Commission has published a draft law in response to the escalating migration crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, which the EU believes is being orchestrated by Minsk in an attempt to destabilize it. The legislation needs to be approved by EU ministers.

“We see the need to reach out directly to those travel companies which – unintentionally, most of the time – are being part of a state-sponsored smuggling scheme orchestrated by a desperate and non-democratic regime,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen said that attempts to destabilize the EU through the “instrumentalization of people” will not work, adding that the EU is united and is taking several measures to resolve the situation at the EU’s external borders with Belarus.

Belarussian state media reported that a further 118 migrants had left the country with another group expected to depart on Tuesday

Authorities in Minsk say there are some 7,000 undocumented mainly Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi migrants in the country, including under 2,000 at the border being sheltered since last week in a warehouse on the border with Poland. EFE


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