The European Union is considering suspending some rights belonging to asylum seekers in countries bordering Belrus amid the on-going European migrant crisis.
In proposals put forward by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm led by President Ursula von der Leyen, countries would be allowed to hold asylum seekers at border camps for up to four months, and would allow for faster deportations.
The proposals are the latest EU attempt to deal with what it describes as a crisis manufactured by Minsk.
The European Union is considering suspending some rights belonging to asylum seekers in countries bordering Belrus amid the on-going European migrant crisis. Pictured: Migrants stands in queue to receive a hot food at a logistics center at the checkpoint logistics centre ‘Bruzgi’ at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Tuesday, November 30, 2021
The EU accuses Belarus of flying in migrants from the Middle East and pushing them to cross through the woods into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Belarus calls the accusations absurd. Rights groups say at least 13 people have died as thousands of migrants have camped in freezing conditions.
The three EU countries that border Belarus have defended their approach of pushing migrants back without individually assessing their cases or granting them a realistic chance to claim asylum.
Rights groups say the practice violates EU rules and international humanitarian law.
Under the proposal by the Commission, migrants would be permitted to claim asylum only at designated locations, such as border crossings.
National authorities would have a longer period of up to four weeks to register asylum applications.
Asylum seekers could be kept for up to 16 weeks at the border, losing a standing right to be held in more suitable centres inside the country.
The proposals are a further example of the EU tightening immigration rules since more than 1 million people arrived in 2015, overwhelming the bloc and dividing member states over how to respond.
In proposals put forward by the European Commission, countries would be allowed to hold asylum seekers at border camps for up to four months, and would allow for faster deportations. Pictured: Migrants warm themselves near a fire at the checkpoint ‘Kuznitsa’ at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, on Nov. 16, 2021
Migrants gather to get warm clothes inside a logistics center at the checkpoint ‘Kuznitsa’ at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, Sunday, November 28, 2021
Poland’s nationalist government has been a leading anti-immigration voice since then, and often clashes with the EU over other human rights issues as well.
Border tensions have eased in recent weeks, since outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his most powerful ally Moscow, and Minsk moved migrants back from the frontier.
Lukashenko was quoted on Wednesday saying he was ready to suspend Russian energy flows over Belarusian territory if Poland closed the border. The Kremlin said it hoped he would not do so.
Poland allowed a state of emergency at the border to lapse overnight, but the interior minister made use of new powers granted to him by parliament to extend a ban on media and rights activists operating at the border for another three months.
In Vilnius, the government was debating on Wednesday extending its state of emergency. Its interior ministry said there were 10,000 migrants still in Belarus.
News of the proposals come after Lukashenko has said he will ask Vladimir Putin to arm his country with nukes if NATO sends similar weapons to Poland.
The strongman dictator told the Kremlin-backed RIA news agency: ‘We are ready for [nuclear weapons] on the territory of Belarus.’
Pictured: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visits migrants waiting at the closed area allocated by Belarusian government on the Belarusian-Polish border in Grodno, Belarus on November 26, 2021. Tensions at the border have eased in recent weeks after Belarus pulled migrants back from its borders with Poland and other EU countries
Putin yesterday warned the West and Ukraine not to cross his ‘red lines’ as NATO leaders met in Latvia amid soaring tensions in the Baltic and Black Sea regions.
Putin has sent some 94,000 troops to the Ukrainian frontier and the White House has warned Europe to brace for an invasion that would dwarf the 2014 annexation of the Crimea.
But the Russian president said that the Kremlin was just as concerned by NATO’s buildup of military hardware near its borders as the West was about the reinforcements gathering on the other side of the frontier.
Speaking to participants of an online investment forum the Russian president said that NATO’s eastward expansion has threatened Moscow’s core security interests.
A map shared with Military Times earlier this month and replicated above shows how Ukrainian intelligence is bracing for a bloody and ferocious invasion that could see swathes of Ukraine captured in an assault which would dwarf the annexation of the Crimea in 2014
He expressed concern that NATO could eventually use the Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Russia’s command centres in just five minutes.
‘The emergence of such threats represents a ‘red line’ for us,’ Putin said. ‘I hope that common sense and responsibility for their own countries and the global community will eventually prevail.’
He added that Moscow has been forced to counter the growing threats by developing new hypersonic weapons.
‘What should we do?’ Putin said. ‘We would need to develop something similar to target those who threaten us. And we can do that even now.’