Wednesday, January 19

Poland’s Senate will vote on a 350 million euro wall along the border with Belarus

Poland’s Senate is preparing to vote today on a plan to build a 350 million euro wall along its border with Belarus, to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally.

A bill to build the new border wall was approved by the lower house of the Polish parliament on October 14. He had been backed the day before by the country’s ruling Conservative government.

The bill now heads to the opposition-dominated Senate for a second vote.

Since August, thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have tried to cross the Polish border from Belarus.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is accused of transporting people from various countries to the border to cause further problems for the EU.

Gerald Knaus, president of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a European think tank that develops political ideas on Southeastern Europe, asylum policy, human rights and democracy, believes the situation is “extremely dramatic” and the premise of a “deadly humanitarian tragedy.” “.

“What we have seen in recent weeks and this week in Poland is a new law that allows violent rejection of people,” Knaus told Euronews.

“We are dealing with a dictator on the Belarusian side who is willing to let people die on the border, to lure them to his country, to send them to the border. It is very cold in the marshes, swamps and forests. He does not It does. Let them back down, and if the European Union then engages in violent and illegal setbacks, people will be caught in the middle, “he continued.

“This promises to be a deadly humanitarian tragedy that will only get worse in the winter.”

Knaus believes that Lukashenko is prepared to exert any kind of pressure on the European Union, so the Polish strategy must be clear.

“The strategy cannot be a brutality contest. What I would recommend, and really the only way I see it is that the European Union needs a partner, it needs to find some other country that is prepared to help it counter the blackmail,” he said. . additional.

“The European Union, in return, would have to offer such serious support to a partner – there are democracies in Eastern Europe that are themselves blackmailed right now, due to gas, by Gazprom and Russia. The European Union should help these countries en masse, and in The return of these countries it could help the European Union. It is about protecting human lives, protecting human dignity, but also not giving in to a dictator. “

Migration is an increasingly divisive issue in Europe and dozens of countries are calling for EU support to build more walls to stop illegal crossings.

According to Knaus, the real problem is not the physical infrastructure, but what happens on those walls.

“Currently, the European Union is breaking its own laws, it is breaking international conventions, not only on the border between Poland and Belarus, also on the border between Croatia and Bosnia, on the border between Hungary and Serbia, on the border between Greece and Turkey. “We are seeing a profound crisis of the rule of law, where the foundations of international law are being broken by the richest group of democracies in the world.”

“The only way out of this is to find forms of human control that can win the support of the majority. But it is true that if it is not possible to find human control, democracies will opt for violence, and that is tragic, dangerous and dangerous. not acceptable.”

Watch the full interview with Gerald Knaus in the video player above.

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