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EU asks 'proactive effort' from Arab airlines amid Belarus migrant crisis

November 10, 2021 at 5:13 pm

Vice President Margaritis Schinas is talking to media in the Berlaymont, the EU Commission headquarter on September 29, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium [Thierry Monasse/Getty Images]

The European Commission asked, on Wednesday, that Arab airlines cooperate in stopping the migration crisis at the bloc’s borders with Belarus.

European Commission Vice President, Margaritis Schinas, and European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean, held a video-conference with the representatives of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO).

“Message from the EU is clear: no one should allow themselves to be embroiled in the Belarusian authorities’ unacceptable practices,” Shinas said on Twitter, following the conversation with AACO that he describes as “honest.”

“We count on airlines’ proactive effort now,” he added, warning that “this is a moment of truth.”

Schinas and EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, will soon travel to countries of origin and transit to raise the authorities’ awareness of the dangerous tactics of the Belarusian regime and to stop the flights to Belarus.

READ: Russia blames EU for looming migrant ‘catastrophe’, sends bombers to overfly Belarus

According to the EU, the Belarusian regime reaches out to potential travellers by seemingly official channels, through diplomatic representations or travel agencies, and invites them to Belarus by offering visas and guiding them to the EU border.

NATO and the EU consider Belarus’ approach towards migrants a hybrid threat meant to destabilise and undermine security in European countries through non-military means.

EU countries bordering Belarus—Lithuania, Latvia and Poland—have been reporting a dramatically growing number of irregular crossings since August.

By Tuesday night, at least 2,000 people, including women and children, got stuck at the Belarusian-Polish border area, without shelter or food.

According to the EU’s latest figures, 7,935 people tried to enter the bloc via the Belarus-EU border so far this year, up sharply from just 150 last year.