Action against migration via Belarus: Seehofer for sanctions against companies

Status: October 19, 2021 8:00 p.m.

In view of the ongoing migration via Belarus, Federal Interior Minister Seehofer is apparently calling for sanctions against participating airlines and other companies. The Cabinet will discuss his proposals tomorrow.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer apparently supports considerations to take measures against increasing migration via Belarus and Poland. He wants to present his proposals to the cabinet tomorrow morning and inform the press later that morning.

The federal government and also the governments in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland accuse the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of bringing migrants and refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. According to a report by the news portal “The Pioneer”, Seehofer supports reflections on European punitive measures against participating companies in this context.

“All airlines and other companies whose actions support the instrumentalisation of irregular migration by the regime in Belarus must be sanctioned as quickly as possible across the EU,” according to a report from his ministry to the cabinet.

“The numbers are steadily increasing”

In the meantime, the “increasing migratory pressure” on the EU’s eastern external border has also had a direct impact on Germany. “The numbers are rising steadily,” the ministry said, according to the report. “The regime in Belarus is promoting people smuggled into the EU via Belarus.” Flights from Iraq to Belarus are “largely prevented”. The list of countries whose citizens can enter Belarus without a visa has been “continuously expanded”, most recently to include Iran, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt and Jordan.

Lukashenko announced at the end of May that Minsk would no longer prevent people from continuing to travel to the EU – in response to tightened Western sanctions against his country. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, around 4,500 illegal entries have been found in eastern Germany since August. Many people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran are among those seeking protection.

Joint border patrol with Poland?

Seehofer has already proposed joint patrols on the German-Polish border to his Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski. These should “primarily be used on Polish territory, of course under the direction of Polish border guards,” said Seehofer in a letter dated Monday.

Since the protection of the border with Belarus is currently causing considerable burdens for the Polish border guards, he offers to significantly increase the number of officers of the Federal Police.

Seehofer wrote of the current situation that he viewed “the recently increasing illegal migration of third-country nationals” to Poland and Germany “with considerable concern. He expressly thanked Kaminski and the Polish border guards “for protecting our common external border in order to prevent illegal migration via Belarus into the European Union as much as possible”.

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