Gabrielius Landsbergis: the EU needs a new strategy and a firm response in preventing the use of migration for political goals
Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, sent a letter to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, where he called for actions to guard the EU border from orchestrated irregular migrant flows and threat to the EU.
“Lithuania is paying a heavy price for its beliefs now. Our support for democratic forces in Belarus is being tested with the flows of illegal migrants from the Middle East and Western Africa. It is not difficult to ascertain who and how organizes these flows. Belarusian KGB with the help of some willing travel agencies and airline companies has the capacity of bringing to Minsk more than 6000 people a week from Iraq and other countries, either directly or via Istanbul, and from there to transport them to the Lithuanian border – the EU external border,” runs Mr Minister’s letter.
Gabrielius Landsbergis emphasised that the EU needed to strengthen its response and methods in the face of new migration crises close to the EU external border. There is a need for a new strategy and a firm response in preventing hybrid attacks where illegal migration and civil aviation are used.
Minister Landsbergis noted that the EU faced a new reality and a rapid response was needed. He stressed, “There will always be a rogue state which may cease controlling its borders or even actively use its resources to propel the migrants from the worse-off countries to the EU border.”
The number of migrants who arrived in Lithuania in 2021 is 4134, which is 55 times more than in 2020. Lithuania’s aim is to strengthen the EU external migration policy and resilience to possible crises, ties with migrant countries of origin, possibilities of returning irregular migrants, and readmission.
Mr Minister hopes to discuss the necessity of an EU coordinated response to Belarus’ hybrid attack using migrants and civil aviation at an Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers – Gymnich that is to take place in Slovenia on 2 September 2021.