Berlin – ESI at panel discussion on the refugee crisis at the Polish-Belarussian border

8 November 2021
Video: ECFR

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to participate in an online panel discussion on the “Migration crisis on the EU Eastern border: how the EU can protect borders and human rights”, organised by the Fundacja Batorego and ECFR Warsaw.

Gerald said that EU sanctions on Belarus should be reinforced and that controls at the border are needed as well as the presence of Frontex to ensure a humane reception as people must not be pushed back in the winter into forest or swamps. The EU should not panic because if it did the Belarusian dictator Lukashenko would have achieved his plan.

If migrants would just be moved from the Polish and Lithuanian border into Germany, then the message would be that migrants can continue coming to Belarus to easily gain passage to Germany. To avoid that, agreements with third countries outside the EU should be concluded, such as Ukraine or Moldova, supporting the EU in its sanctions against Belarus and that should be compensated by the EU for doing so by giving them further support to counter pressure from Moscow.

Gerald proposed that either Ukraine or Moldova should take in migrants from the Polish and Lithuanian border after a cut-off date, to process them and determine who needs protection and could be resettled in the EU.

The other panellists were Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (MEP, former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland) and Rasa Juknevičienė (MEP, former Minister of Defence of Lithuania). The panel was chaired by Piotr Buras (Director of ECFR Warsaw).