Baltic Prime Ministers condemn Lukashenko's "hybrid attack on the EU"

Friday, August 6, saw Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš participating in a remote meeting of the three Prime Ministers of the Baltic States, where together with the Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė and the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas the situation on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border was discussed.

The trio talked about solutions and further action at international level to curb the flow of illegal migration to the EU's eastern border which is being actively perpetrated by the deranged regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.

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Kariņš expressed his support for Lithuania, emphasizing that the use of illegal migration by the Belarusian authorities to create political pressure is unacceptable and that every effort should be made to stop it. The Prime Minister also pointed out the need for mutual support and informed about Latvia's plans to accelerate the construction of ots own Eastern border protection and strengthen its security.

The Prime Ministers agreed to continue close co-operation and regular exchange of information at all levels.

The prime ministers also agreed to issue a joint statement (attached) condemning the hybrid threat posed by Lukashenko. The statement says:

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania stand together in defending the values and security of the European Union and express grave concern regarding the ongoing hybrid attack by Alexander Lukashenka regime against the integrity of the EU external border.

We strongly condemn all attempts to instrumentalise irregular migration with a view of exerting political pressure on the EU and its Member States. The EU, its Member States, countries of origin and transit of irregular migration and other international actors must continue to swiftly respond and work to further strengthen EU return capacities as part of a comprehensive approach, as people who have no right to stay in the EU shall be returned.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania stand together to effectively protect the EU external border and prevent irregular migrants from secondary movement to the territory of other EU Member States. In this regard, Lithuania with the political and operational support provided by Estonia, Latvia, other Member States and partners of the EU, and relevant EU institutions and agencies, protects the EU external border and is determined to take all necessary measures in accordance with the EU and international law.

We express our appreciation to the European Commission, Frontex, EASO, Europol, all EU Member States and our partners outside the EU for the political and practical support. However, rapidly deteriorating situation on the EU external border requires swift, robust and decisive response to the Belarusian regime as well as intensification of the diplomatic, financial and technical support by the EU institutions to Lithuania.

The EU negotiations with the countries of origin of illegal migration are of paramount importance. We work closely with the EU institutions to discourage and stop new irregular migration routes at their inception. The protection of external Schengen borders is our shared responsibility. We call on the EU Council and our partners to extend individual and sectorial sanctions on the Belarusian regime, as well as new sanctions regime targeting all parties involved in state-sponsored use of irregular migration flows.

Restrictive measures targeted at migrants’ smugglers abusing human rights should be considered and swiftly implemented. We work in close dialogue with our partners to fight illegal flow of people, to stop human smuggling, break the business model of smugglers, and discourage people from becoming tools in Lukashenka’s hybrid attack on the EU.

 

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