“We must help the Polish government secure their external border. This would actually be the task of the European Commission. I’m now appealing to them to take action,” Seehofer told Bild newspaper on Tuesday.
Some 3,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa, who are looking to make it into Poland and request asylum in the EU, are currently besieging the border between Poland and Belarus.
Seehofer has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using those people “to destabilize the West,” calling on “all EU states” to unite to counter those attempts.
The minister’s words echoed those of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who on Monday called the events on the Poland-Belarus border a “hybrid attack” orchestrated by Minsk to destabilize Europe and called for sanctions.
Poland said the migrants were being guarded by armed Belarusian servicemen and even accused the troops of violating its border.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry rejected claims of border violations by its soldiers as well as any involvement in encouraging the migrant crisis on Tuesday, describing the accusations by Warsaw as “unfounded and unsubstantiated.”
In late June, Lukashenko said Belarus would no longer be holding back migrants seeking to reach the EU through its territory. The move was in response to sanctions, including restrictions on airspace, imposed by Brussels on Minsk after Belarus grounded an Irish Ryanair flight with opposition blogger Roman Protasevich on board in May.
Shortly after Lukashenko’s announcement, countries neighboring Belarus reported a spike in attempted border crossings. Brussels has accused Minsk of laying on flights from troubled destinations and deliberately encouraging would-be migrants to try to enter the EU. Belarus has said any negotiations with the European bloc on the migrant issue can only begin after it lifts all sanctions against the country.
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