EU to ‘Blacklist’ Firms Involved with Transporting Migrants to Belarus

TOPSHOT - A group of migrants moves along the Belarusian-Polish border towards a camp to join those gathered at the spot and aiming to enter EU member Poland, in the Grodno region on November 12, 2021. - Hundreds of desperate migrants are trapped in freezing temperatures on the border and …
LEONID SHCHEGLOV/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

The EU is set to blacklist firms involved with transporting migrants to Belarus for the purpose of destabilising the bloc.

Under newly drafted law, the European Union will be able to “blacklist” airlines and other firms involved in transporting migrants to Belarus, which has been accused of creating the new migrant crisis threatening the bloc.

President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen said that the EU aims to create a watchlist using the law so as to deter intermediary organisations from transporting migrants to Belarus, Deutsche Welle reports.

Calling the movement of migrants through Belarus an attempt by the country to “destabilize the bloc”, the Commission president said that the legislation would “blacklist all means and modes of transport involved in trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants”.

“This is not a migration crisis. This is the attempt of an authoritarian regime to try to destabilize its democratic neighbours,” President Von Der Leyen said.

According to The Guardian, the draft law, which does not specifically refer to Belarus’s dictator Alexander Lukashenko, will blacklist any travel operator or airline that flies people to countries that border the EU as part of attempts to destabilise the union.

Any airline that ends up on the list would be prevented from flying through EU airspace, as well as landing or refuelling at airports within the bloc.

The law will also not discern or discriminate regarding whether firms are aware that they are infringing on the new rules or not.

Speaking on this matter, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that the Commission hopes that they never have to use the law, and that it had taken some time for airlines to comprehend that they were merely being used by the Belarussian regime.

“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,” Commissioner Johansson said.

Belarus has been accused of engaging in “hybrid warfare” against the European Union, with Poland struggling to control the waves of migrants hitting the shared border.

Polish police have reported being pelted with stones and stun grenades from the Belarussian side, with a former Belarussian ambassador claiming that the country’s forces have been training some migrants with military backgrounds to attack the border.

When confronted with the possibility that Belarussian forces were helping migrants enter Polish territory, President Lukashenko said that it was “absolutely possible”, but that he had no interest in looking into the matter.

Lukashenko also demanded that Germany take in 2,000 migrants from Belarus, warning that if they did not do so quickly, that there would be dire consequences.

“If you don’t, it will be a catastrophe,” Lukashenko threatened, warning: “People will freeze. People will start dying.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, however, stated that his nation would not “yield to blackmail”, a position backed by Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, who repeated that the EU could not give in to blackmail from the authoritarian state.

“We have to respond united and very clearly to this state-sponsored hybrid attack on the European Union,” the Austrian chancellor said

.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.