The EU’s executive summoned envoys from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia on Thursday to discuss the fate of migrants stranded on their border with Belarus. But the meeting did not take place.
“I’m very concerned about reports of people including children stuck in forests in a dire situation at external EU borders with Belarus,” European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson had previously said when demanding a meeting with the three EU ambassadors of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
In recent months, all three countries have reported a spike in the number of migrants from the Middle East and Africa crossing into their territory from Belarus. The EU blames Minsk for deliberately orchestrating the flow to put pressure on the bloc.
However, the meeting did not take place as planned. There has been speculation this was due to the lack of availability of ambassadors, which a government spokesperson told EURACTIV was not true.
“Yes, I have received the invitation to meet and to discuss the situation on the EU external border with Belarus. As the situation there concerns the security of the entire EU, I also suggested inviting the current and the incoming presidencies of the EU to the meeting,” Simonas Šatūnas, acting Lithuanian Permanent Representative to the EU, said in a press statement to EURACTIV.
“From the very beginning of the hybrid attack, Lithuania has been closely cooperating with the EU. We do believe that resolving the consequences of human trafficking shall be the concern of the entire EU, not only of the countries exposed to the hybrid attack by Lukashenko’s regime,” she said.
“Only altogether – the Commission, and the entire EU27 – we may dismantle illegal networks of human trafficking and avoid heart-breaking situations at the EU border with Belarus,” Šatūnas added.
(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)