“Not dependent on EU funds”: Poland’s parliament approves permanent border protection with Belarus

“Not dependent on EU funds”
Poland’s parliament approves permanent border protection with Belarus

Poland wants to permanently fortify its border with Belarus. Parliament approves the government’s plans. The dispute as to whether the European Union will provide funds for this is still unresolved. The government in Warsaw emphasizes, however, that one is not dependent on Brussels.

The Polish parliament has finally given the go-ahead for the construction of a fortified border system on the border with Belarus. The national conservative government is reacting to the influx of refugees at the EU’s external border with the project, which cost around 353 million euros. President Andrzej Duda is expected to enact the law in the next few days by signing it.

The border barrier should extend over a length of more than 100 kilometers along the eastern EU external border. Since August, thousands of migrants – mostly from the Middle East and Africa – have tried to cross the Polish border from Belarus. Warsaw had already stationed thousands of soldiers at the border in the past few weeks, erected a barbed wire fence and declared a state of emergency in the border area.

Poland wants to build permanent fortifications even without EU funds. If there should be financial support from Brussels, then his country would accept these funds, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday in Warsaw. “However, we are not dependent on the EU.” Nevertheless, the border protects not only Poland from illegal migration, but the entire EU.

The governments of Germany and Poland are accusing the Belarusian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, of bringing refugees from crisis regions to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. Lukashenko announced at the end of May that he would no longer prevent migrants from continuing to travel to the EU – in response to tightened Western sanctions against the former Soviet republic. It is suspected, however, that the Belarusian authorities are deliberately bringing migrants into the country and smuggling them to the borders with the eastern EU states. Poland’s border guards have registered 26,000 illegal border crossings since the beginning of the year, 14,200 of them in October alone. The parliament in Warsaw has therefore decided to build a “solid, high barrier” equipped with a surveillance system and motion detectors.

Federal Police: No relaxation

In the past few weeks, an increasing number of migrants have also reached Germany. In October, the Federal Police registered around 4,890 illegal entries with a connection to Belarus. The total number of cases in the entire year has now risen to around 7,300, as the Federal Police Headquarters in Potsdam said. There are currently no signs of an easing of the situation at the border.

The CSU European politician Manfred Weber called in the “Bild” on the EU to support the affected EU states “with staff and money for their border control”. This includes “of course support for building a fence, if necessary,” he said. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen had refused.

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