European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday expressed her solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in the face of the escalating migration crisis on their borders with Belarus.
Von der Leyen also called on EU member states to “finally approve the extended sanctions regime against the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack”.
After a month-long period of increased migratory pressure at the Belarusian border that the EU blamed on a policy of the Belarusian regime of Alexander Lukashenko aimed at destabilizing the EU, thousands of migrants attempted on Monday to force the border with the Poland.
In his statement, Von der Leyen said the EU “will study how to sanction, including through blacklists, airlines from third countries active in human trafficking”.
She said she spoke with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Lithuanian and Latvian counterparts to express solidarity with them and to “discuss with them what measures the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with the this crisis “.
“Belarus must stop putting people’s lives at risk,” said Von der Leyen. “The instrumentalization of migrants for political ends by Belarus is unacceptable.
She also said that “putting pressure on the EU” by “cynical instrumentalisation of migrants” would not help Belarus achieve its goals.
She added that the EU would explore with UN bodies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the border area.