MEPs said that the EU must stand united in its response to the current Belarus system, while stressing that such a system is an inhumane exploitation of migrants.
The comments came during a public debate held on Wednesday, November 10, TheSchengen.com reports.
It was recently reported that a large number of migrants trapped on the Polish-Belarus border made hundreds of attempts to breach the border, but were repelled by the 15,000 soldiers currently protecting the border.
European Union leaders have previously accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of causing unrest within the bloc. The comments by EU leaders came after Poland recently faced an influx of migrants trying to reach this region illegally. According to EU leaders, Lukashenko uses immigrants in order to destabilize the bloc.
On the topic, during the general discussion with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, MEPs raised their concerns about the dramatic crisis at the Polish-Belarus border, where migrants are still stranded exposed to winter weather conditions.
MEPs also expressed concerns about migrant flows at the EU’s external borders, escalating the situation with neighboring countries, particularly Poland, as an act of retaliation for EU sanctions.
According to the statement published by the European Parliament, Borrell stressed that EU countries are trying to find practical solutions and prevent another flow of migrants.
Borrell noted that “the Belarusian authorities should provide humanitarian assistance to people trapped in the Belarusian border area, including providing access for humanitarian organizations to the area and allowing humanitarian corridors.”
He announced an upcoming discussion on expanded EU sanctions.
MEPs also called on the Polish authorities to put an end to the current expulsions of migrants to Belarus and to accept assistance from EU agencies in order to deal with the current situation.
In this regard, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, urged the EU authorities to agree to the extension of sanctions against Belarus and airlines of other countries, following the current situation at the Polish-Belarus border.
Tensions escalated between the European Union and Belarus after the Belarusian president forced a passenger plane to divert and land in order to arrest 26-year-old opposition journalist Roman Protacevic.
Besides criticism from the authorities of EU countries, Belarus has also faced sanctions over the landing of a Ryanair flight, which sanctions have been urged to expand.