EU to impose sanctions on corporations that assist in the smuggling of migrants

Photo credit: News Track Live

By Nathan Otaba,

According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission has suggested targeted sanctions against transport companies that are accused of assisting in the smuggling of persons into the European Union (EU) via Belarus.

According to the Xinhua news agency, von der Leyen told the European Parliament on Tuesday that the measures will bar any transport business implicated in assisting migrants from accessing EU airspace, landing at airports, arriving at ports, or traversing EU territory.

“There are specialized travel agents offering all-inclusive deals: visas, flights, hotels and, somewhat cynically, taxis and buses up to the border. Let us be very clear: these migrants are being vilely misled by false promises,” she said.

Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said the issue was the result of people being “sold a fiction” by multinational smuggling networks. “This is not a migration threat or crisis; it is a security threat, and we must address it as such,” Schinas added.

The sanctions, if enacted, would add to the pressure on Belarus to resolve the migrant situation in EU nations bordering Belarus, such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko urged the EU to work with Minsk to end the months-long migration crisis, which has resulted in the deaths of more than ten people.

Thousands of migrants have been stranded at the border between Belarus and its neighbors since August, the majority of them are fleeing war-torn nations in the Middle East. More migrants, on the other hand, landed on the Belarusian side of the Poland-Belarus border early this month.

Last week, clashes erupted between Polish soldiers wielding water cannons and migrants hurling rocks. On Belarus’s borders with Latvia and Lithuania, tensions were also high.

According to a Kremlin statement, Putin and Lukashenko expressed “great concern” about the “unacceptable, cruel conduct” of Polish border guards towards migrants.

Belarus has been blamed by the EU for the situation, but Minsk has rejected this and stated that it is willing to negotiate.

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