Belarus is responding to EU sanctions with countermeasures
The EU had imposed sanctions on Belarus for the forced landing of an aeroplane. In response, Minsk now wants to stop cooperation on migration.
In response to EU sanctions, Belarus no longer wants to cooperate with the EU to fight against illegal migration. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Minsk announced entry bans for EU representatives. The authoritarian head of state Alexander Lukashenko had already threatened this after the economic and political sanctions decided on Thursday by the EU, the USA, Canada and Great Britain.
The Minsk Foreign Ministry said that an agreement with the EU on migration should be suspended. It is noted “with the profound lament” that “the constrained suspension of the understanding will contrarily affect collaboration with the EU in the field of unlawful relocation and organized crime,” it said. Belarus is also preparing other countermeasures, “including those of an economic nature”.
Belarus borders on the EU members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Most of them are said to be from the Middle East. The Lithuanian government complained earlier this month that Belarus had opened its border to migrants.
Council President Michel accused the government in Minsk of having “taken another step back”. “This decision will lead to a further escalation of tensions and hurt the Belarusian people,” wrote the Belgian on Twitter.
The Minsk Foreign Ministry also announced that it would call back its envoy to the EU for consultations. It asked Dirk Schuebel, the EU envoy in Minsk, to leave the country. Unspecified EU representatives who would have participated in drawing up sanctions against Belarus are no longer allowed to enter the country.