Migrant crisis Poland-Belarus, tension at the border. The EU seeks solutions

The migrant crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland continues to create tensions. On Tuesday, tear gas and water cannons were used to stop people attempting to enter Poland. A critical situation, in which Warsaw, as the gateway to Europe, and the Minsk regime, supported by Moscow, are opposed. A hybrid war, waged by Alexander Lukashenko using refugees, which the European Union is trying to contain with sanctions and by financing Poland with over 100 million euros for the protection of its borders.

Poland defends the border

In November alone, five thousand attempts were made to force the Polish border by migrants fleeing the Middle East amassed in Belarus, compared to a few dozen in the whole of 2020. In the last few hours, however, the situation has degenerated. “The migrants attacked our officers with stones and tried to destroy the fence, and tear gas was used to stop this attack,” the Warsaw Defense Ministry reported, denouncing that an officer was seriously injured, while the guards of Belarusian borders stood by and watched. Minsk reacted by accusing Poland of wanting to “further aggravate the situation and stifle any progress towards an agreement” that would put an end to the crisis. While Moscow called the use of tear gas “absolutely unacceptable” and Vladimir Putin again heard Lukashenko on the phone.

Europe is looking for a solution

On the contrary, a new condemnation of the Belarusian regime has come from the European chancelleries, which “exploits migratory flows in an inhuman and shameless way” to “destabilize” the European Union, said French Prime Minister Jean Castex. The border incidents occurred after the new EU squeeze against Minsk, with the launch of the fifth sanctions package, but also of a new attempt at mediation by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in an interview with Lukashenko asked humanitarian assistance at the border. The Belarusian government seems to have accepted the appeal, because it announced its intention to welcome all migrants in a logistic center near the Bruzgi border crossing, “until the matter is resolved”. There are about 4,000 refugees who are currently massed at the border, in freezing conditions and in increasingly precarious conditions (at least 11 people, according to the NGOs, have died on both sides so far). In Brussels, in addition to the sanctions against Minsk, work is also being done to strengthen the tools available to border countries, such as Poland, to contain the emergency flows. On this front, the Commission has decided to allocate 114.5 million euros from the EU budget to Warsaw for border management. These funds “should not be used to build the walls”, said the spokesman for the community executive Eric Mamer, who however did not rule out that they could be used to build “physical barriers”.