STRASBOURG, November 23. /TASS/. The European Union, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are in the process of coordinating anti-Belarusian sanctions over the situation with migrants who, according to Brussles, are smuggled into the European Union by Belarus, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.
"I discussed with President [of the US Joe] Biden aligning our efforts. We agreed that to counter this behaviour, it is important to coordinate our sanctions <…>. We are in the process of coordinating our sanctions with the United States, Canada and the UK," she said at a plenary session of the European Parliament.
According to von der Leyen, the European Union will draw a sanction list of transport operators facilitating illegal migration. "The strategy employed by Belarus is based very clearly on the complicity of tour operators and their intermediaries. There are specialised travel agents offering all-inclusive deals: visas, flights, hotels and, somewhat cynically, taxis and buses up to the border. Let us be clear: these migrants are being vilely misled by false promises. We have to combat this. That is why we are proposing that a watchlist be drawn up for all means of transport based on international law on the trafficking and smuggling of migrants. Today the Commission is putting forward a legislative proposal to do this," she said.
The European Union, in her words, is working with the United Nations to help the migrants, who have found themselves "trapped." "More migrants are trapped and we will work with the UN agencies to facilitate their return home," she noted. "We will mobilise up to EUR 3.5 million to support voluntary returns from Belarus."
The migration crisis at Belarus’ border with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia deteriorated dramatically on November 8, when several thousand migrants approached the Polish border and set up camp there. From time to time they try to break through the fences and cross into Poland, but are stopped by Polish law enforcers.
EU countries accuse Minsk of the deliberate escalation of the crisis and call for more sanctions against Belarus. Meanwhile, Lukashenko said that the blame for this situation rests on Western countries because people are fleeing their countries gripped by hostilities provoked by their actions.