EU calls for extended sanctions upon Belarus over migrant influx

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday announced on member states to impose new sanctions upon Belarus, claiming the country is responsible for an influx of migrants at the Polish border.

I call for approval of extended sanctions, possible sanctions on third-country airlines involved. We also want to prevent a humanitarian crisis and ensure safe returns.

In a released statement on the official government website

Belarus must stop putting people's lives at risk.

The instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes by Belarus is unacceptable.

The Belarusian authorities must understand that pressuring the European Union in this way through a cynical instrumentalisation of migrants will not help them succeed in their purposes.

I have spoken to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš to express the EU's solidarity and discuss with them the measures the EU can take to support them in their efforts to deal with this crisis.

I am calling on the Member States to finally approve the extended sanctions regime on the Belarusian authorities responsible for this hybrid attack.

Vice-President Schinas, in coordination with High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, will travel in the coming days to the main countries of origin and of transit to ensure that they act to prevent their own nationals from falling into the trap set by the Belarusian authorities.

The EU will in particular explore how to sanction, including through blacklisting, third country airlines that are active in human trafficking.

Finally, the Commission will explore with the UN and its specialised agencies how to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding and to ensure that migrants can be safely returned to their country of origin, with the support of their national authorities.

Greece, which was on the frontline of the migrant crisis in 2015 when more than a million people escaping war and poverty in the Middle East crossed from Turkey into the EU, has said it may send back any Afghans that arrive illegally through the country.

Many of those who arrived in Greece during the migrant crisis left Greece and travelled north throughout Europe, but about 60,000 have remained in the country.


"Refugees as weapons", or "Weapon of Mass Migration" is a term used to describe a hostile government organizing, or threatening to organize, a sudden influx of refugees into another country with the intent of overwhelming its borders or causing political discomfort.