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The Polish Senate is preparing to vote today on a project to build a 350 million euro wall along its border with Belarus, to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally.

A bill to build the new border wall was approved by the lower house of the Polish parliament on October 14. He had been supported the day before by the Conservative government in power.

The bill is now heading to the opposition-dominated Senate for a second vote.

Since August, thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have tried to cross the Polish border from Belarus.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is accused of transporting people from several countries to the border to cause more problems for the EU.

Gerald Knaus, president of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a European think tank developing political ideas on South East Europe, asylum policy, human rights and democracy, thinks that the situation is “extremely dramatic” and the premise of a “deadly humanitarian tragedy” “.

“What we have seen in recent weeks and this week in Poland is a new law that allows for the violent refoulement of people,” Knaus told Euronews.

“We are dealing with a dictator on the Belarusian side who is ready to let people die on the border – to lure them to his country, to send them to the border. It is freezing cold in the marshes, swamps and forests. He doesn’t. let them retreat – and if the European Union then engages in violent and illegal pushbacks, people will be caught in the middle, “he continued.

“It promises to be a deadly humanitarian tragedy that will worsen in winter.”

Knaus thinks Lukashenko is ready to exert any pressure on the European Union, so the Polish strategy must be clear.

“Strategy cannot be a brutality contest. What I would recommend, and really the only way I see it, is that the European Union needs a partner, has to find another country that is ready to help him counter the blackmail, ”he said. added.

“In return, the European Union should offer such a partner serious support – there are democracies in Eastern Europe which are themselves being blackmailed at the moment, because of gas, by Gazprom and the Russia. The European Union should help these countries massively, and by The return of these countries could help the European Union. It is about protecting human lives, protecting human dignity, but also not giving in to a dictator.

Migration is an increasingly controversial issue in Europe and dozens of countries are asking for EU support to build more walls to stop illegal crossings.

According to Knaus, the real problem is not the physical infrastructure, but what is happening on these walls.

“Currently, the European Union is breaking its own laws, it is breaking international conventions – not only on the Polish-Belarusian border, but also on the Croatian-Bosnian border, on the Hungarian-Serbian border, on the Greek-Turkish border. What we are witnessing is a deep crisis of the rule of law, where the foundations of international law are shattered by the richest group of democracies in the world. ”

“The only way out is to find ways of human control that can gain the support of the majority. But it is true that if it is not possible to find human control, democracies will opt for violence – and this is tragic, dangerous, and unacceptable. “

Watch Gerald Knaus’ full interview in the video player above.


euronews Gt

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