The European Commission remains in its refusal to pay, on account of the community budget, walls against migrants like the one that Poland insists on building on the border with Belarus. A Poland that has received a new blow from the European Justice this Tuesday for its assault on the country’s Justice and that has banned journalists, humanitarian organizations and EU entities such as Frontex from accessing the border with Belarus.
The EU opens up to finance walls and fences against migrants on the border between Poland and Belarus
European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said Tuesday: “Our position is that EU funds should not be used to build walls, which is not the same as saying that you cannot build physical barriers.” The European Commission has also shown its dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency at the border: “We have repeatedly stressed the importance of transparency in managing the situation. Of course, the media, as well as international organizations , civil society has an important role to play. A presence on the ground would also be very welcome. ”
Meanwhile, Poland has announced the construction of the wall in December on the border with Belarus. Le Figaro explains that it will end in the first half of 2022, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry. “We must make an absolutely strategic and priority investment for the security of the nation and its citizens,” said Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, whose department stressed that the contracts would be signed before December 15 and that the works would begin that same month. , with shifts to work 24 hours.
According to the information, the structure will cost around 353 million euros and is expected to span 180 kilometers, about half the total length of the Polish-Belarusian border. Parliament gave the go-ahead to its construction last month.
And what does Spain think? The Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, was not very clear on Monday in Brussels: “We are analyzing all the measures, this is what we have asked the Commission, to make this analysis of which are those measures that can be fast, that they can be effective, they have to be in solidarity with Poland and at the same time include the principle of humanity. And we are waiting to see what they are. Poland has not made any reference to this today in its speech. ”
But are you in favor of the Commission paying it? “The issue has not been raised [en la reunión de ministros de Exteriores de los 27 este lunes]. Therefore, that gives an idea that the answer does not seem to go out there, because there has not been a debate about it and I have not had to take a position on it. ”
French Minister for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, was much clearer on Tuesday. “I am in favor of a Europe that protects its borders, but not a Europe that puts up wires or walls”, has told France 2.
Open debate in the EU
The European Union has entered fully into the debate on the financing of border walls against migrants and refugees. While the issue was on the table at the last summit of leaders in Brussels, four weeks ago, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, expressed a frontal opposition to dedicating community money to build fences and gates, something that some Heads of State and Government did ask in the European Council. As requested by the majority party in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Prime Minister, for his part, has defended “additional sanctions, for example, in relation to airlines, also with Belarusian ones.” And he has called for a meeting by videoconference of the EU heads of government to address the crisis: “It is a very serious problem. The pressure on the Lukashenko regime has to increase. Without specific sanctions we will not be able to achieve the desired results.”
According to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, “it is important to explain to the airlines what are the effects of their decisions in launching a hybrid attack against the EU. And if we cannot convince with arguments, we must be prepared to decide on concrete sanctions. and operational, because we must be firm. What is happening is serious and we must react firmly. We need to be united. ”
In addition, the President of the European Council has developed his request that the EU finance the walls against migrants: “The European financing of physical infrastructure to protect the borders is supported by the legal service of the Council, it is legally possible under the current legal framework” . Michel, however, has acknowledged: “This is a decision that the European Commission must take, but in any case, the legal opinion of the Council is very clear and we will see what the outcome of the debate will be.”
For their part, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia have signed a letter in which they ask: “The physical barrier is an effective border protection measure that serves the interests of the entire EU. This legitimate measure should be funded from the EU budget as a matter of priority.”
Gases and hoses
Meanwhile, the tension on the border between Poland and Belarus has led to stones on one side and hoses and tear gas on the other, according to media present there, such as the BBC.
According to AFP, Polish forces fired tear gas and deployed water cannons at stone-throwing migrants trying to cross the border from Belarus on Tuesday, the same day Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said he wanted to avoid a “confrontation.”
Polish border guards estimate that up to 4,000 migrants are currently camping along the Polish-Belarusian border in increasingly extreme conditions and freezing temperatures.
The EU and the US accuse Belarus of orchestrating the crisis, with Russia’s backing, by driving migrants to the border to sow division in the EU, something that Minsk and Moscow deny.