State of emergency on Latvia's eastern border might be extended again

Currently, in Latvia's border area, a state of emergency has been announced in the municipalities bordering Russia and Belarus. The emergency on the Belarusian border expires very soon, and the Ministry of Interior (IeM) wishes to extend it once again but the Ministry of Justice (TM) opposes it, Latvian Television reported on Ocober 31.

The state of emergency in the Belarus border area has been in place for approximately 14 months. It was originally announced last August to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from Belarus. In the view of the Interior Ministry, the emergency must also be continued at this time.

“We have to take such steps to mitigate the risk of a national threat to national security, our country. To prevent people from crossing borders illegally,” said Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons.

An objection has been expressed by the Justice Ministry to the emergency extension project prepared for these purposes, indicating that the emergency is only a temporary solution. It would therefore be inappropriate, from a legal point of view, to reinforce it again. TM stressed that, if necessary, other laws may be amended.

“If this situation became the same with illegal immigrants in 2021 and continues as it is, much more intense than before, it may be the new, normal arrangements. Such arrangements should always be considered in the future,” said Deputy Secretary of State for Legal Affairs Anda Smiltēna.

If the government doesn't decide to extend the state on Wednesday, the state of emergency will conclude on November 10.

More than 7,500 people have been prevented from illegally crossing the country's border since August last year. The state of emergency in the Belarus border area has already been extended four times while in Russia's border area it has been in force since the end of September. The state of emergency is a formal tool to allow the state border guard to act more freely in decision-making and allocation of resources.

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