Hojs promises help to Polish counterpart in facing migration

Ljubljana – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs and his Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski discussed on Friday the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, where according to Kaminski a new illegal migration route is being established. Hojs assured him that Poland could count on full assistance of the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council.

“We strongly condemn and reject migration being further instrumentalised by the Belarusian regime. It is unacceptable for Belarus to play with people’s lives for political purposes,” Hojs said.

He added that Slovenia, as the country presiding the EU Council, stood by Poland, as well as the other member states bordering Belarus, the Slovenian Interior Ministry said in a press release.

According to Kaminski, Poland is currently managing the situation at the border with the available human resources and technical means, but additional political effort and pressure in the form of sanctions on Belarus are needed.

The ministers agreed that an emergency meeting of the EU interior ministers should be convened as soon as possible, at which consent on the financing of the setting up of technical means funds from the EU budget should be reached.

The ministry noted that the Slovenian presidency constantly monitored the situation on the EU’s external border with Belarus. In August, it hosted an emergency videoconference of interior ministers as part of the EU Crisis Response Mechanism (IPCR).

Belarus and the migration issue were also discussed extensively by the EU Council at its October ministerial meeting, it added.

On Tuesday, the Council decided to suspend the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with Belarus, with which the EU member states once again showed “that we will continue to jointly oppose this hybrid attack”.

Thousands of migrants who want to enter the EU, coming mainly from the Middle East, are stuck in difficult conditions on the Belarusian borders with Poland and Lithuania and, to a lesser extent, Latvia.

The Western governments are accusing President Alexander Lukashenko of inviting migrants to Belarus and deliberately sending them to the border in response to the EU sanctions over the crackdown on the opposition after last year’s presidential election.