EU Punishes Belarus for People Smuggling, Makes Travel Difficult for Elite
The European Union is punishing Belarus for bringing in and forwarding migrants to EU countries such as Poland. In addition, the EU is making it more difficult for members of the Belarusian regime to travel to the union.
The EU has accused the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko of abusing asylum seekers for some time to increase pressure on neighbouring Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. However, the situation in the inhospitable border region has escalated in recent days as Belarus has directed hundreds of migrants from countries such as Iraq and Syria to the Polish border.
The president and dozens of supporters are already banned from entering the EU, but other government officials are now also getting more difficult access, the EU countries have decided. It concerns all members of the parliament in Minsk and of regional administrations and parliaments, members of official delegations and the country’s highest judges. From now on, they will have to wait longer for a visa application, submit more documents and pay more. Ordinary citizens are not affected.
It is the first time that the EU has taken action against the ‘migrant smuggling’ which it believes the regime in Minsk is committing. Belarus has already received numerous sanctions last year for brutally crushing the protest movement in the country. It came together around the election victory that, according to the EU, had been stolen by Lukashenko in the summer of last year.