Europe

Visegrad Group pledges solidarity with Poland in migrant crisis

Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovakian prime ministers hold meeting in Budapest amid crisis at Belarus-Poland border

Mehmet Yılmaz   | 24.11.2021
Visegrad Group pledges solidarity with Poland in migrant crisis Border guards on the Polish side continue to wait under intense security, as the area on the Belarusian side is being organized and cleared, at the Poland-Belarus border, on November 21, 2021 ( Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency )

BUDAPEST, Hungary

The leaders of the Visegrad Group voiced solidarity on Tuesday with Poland in the migration crisis along its border with Belarus.  

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger gathered in Budapest amid the ongoing migrant crisis.

Speaking at a news conference following the meeting, Orban said the group gives full support to Poland on the refugee issue.

The EU followed the wrong policy regarding asylum seekers and as a result, the pressure on the EU increased, Orban said, adding the bloc should provide financial support to member countries on border protection.

"This year, we stopped 100,000 refugees, coming from the Balkan route at the Hungarian border. Those who left Afghanistan will also come. Around 30-35,000 people leave Afghanistan daily, and the EU should consider the pressure of the increase in arrivals from the Balkan route," he said.

Morawiecki said Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko "is trying to put pressure on the EU by collaborating with the mafia and human smugglers."

Also, Poland protects the borders of the EU and NATO, said Morawiecki, adding that as a result of diplomatic efforts, fewer migrants have recently come to the Polish border.

Babis underlined that his country helped Hungary with border protection and is ready to help Poland in a similar way by sending soldiers and police.

And Heger said the Belarusian administration is "unacceptable" and the quad group that formed a political and cultural alliance supports sanctions imposed on Belarus.

Heger also said his country offered to send troops and police under The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

Since August, EU countries bordering Belarus -- Lithuania, Latvia and Poland -- have reported a dramatically growing number of irregular crossings.

More than 8,000 people have tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border in 2021, up sharply from just 150 last year.

According to the EU, Belarus reaches out to potential travelers through seemingly official channels, including diplomatic missions and travel agencies and invites them to Belarus by offering visas. They are then allegedly guided to the EU border.

​​​​​​​In the last week, at least 2,000 people, including women and children, have been stuck at the Belarusian-Polish border area in dire conditions.​​​​​​​


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