EU plans sanctions against companies that help smuggle migrants

by IANS |

Brussels, Nov 24 (IANS) The European Commission has proposed targeted measures to hit transport companies that are said to have helped smuggle people into the European Union (EU) via Belarus, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced.

Addressing the European Parliament on Tuesday, von der Leyen said the measures would blacklist any transport company involved in helping move migrants from accessing EU airspace, landing at airports, arriving at ports or crossing EU territory, Xinhua news agency reported.

"There are specialized travel agents offering all-inclusive deals: visas, flights, hotels and, somewhat cynically, taxis and buses up to the border. Let us be very clear: these migrants are being vilely misled by false promises," she said.

Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said the situation was the result of people being "sold a lie" by international smuggling networks. "This is not a migration threat or crisis, this is a security one, so we have to deal with it as such," Schinas added.

If adopted, the measures would add to the pressure on Belarus to ease the migrant crisis across EU countries that border Belarus, including Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko called on the EU to cooperate with Minsk to resolve the months-long migrant crisis that has left more than 10 people dead.

Since August, thousands of migrants, most of them from war-torn countries in the Middle East, were stranded at the border between Belarus and its neighbors, seeking to enter the EU territory. However, more migrants arrived at the Belarusian side of the border with Poland earlier this month.

Clashes broke out last week between Polish soldiers using water cannons and migrants throwing stones. Similar tensions also occurred on Belarus's borders with Latvia and Lithuania.

Putin and Lukashenko expressed "serious concern over the unacceptable, brutal actions" of the Polish border guards against the migrants, said a statement issued by the Kremlin.

The EU has been blaming Belarus for the crisis, while Minsk has denied the accusation and said it is ready for talks.

Latest News
'Everyone felt Covid's impact in the country', Congress slams govt Fri, Dec 03, 2021, 12:02 AM
Omicron: No case detected in TN so far, says Health Minister Fri, Dec 03, 2021, 12:01 AM
Wanted to give expensive gift to girlfriend, says i-Phone thief Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:59 PM
Omicron cases' infected contacts showing mild symptoms: K'taka Health Min Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:58 PM
Rajya Sabha passes Dam Safety Bill with amendment Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:57 PM
Over one-third wards dominated by females in KMC Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:56 PM
Steep fall for ex-Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh as suspension announced (Roundup) Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:54 PM
Over 1.5 lakh expected to attend PM's rally in Dehradun Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:53 PM
Goa BJP chief dares Cong to name minister accused of sex scandal Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:53 PM
HC asks Delhi govt to respond on revision of headload workers' wages Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:51 PM
Gurugram on alert amid Omicron scare Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:50 PM
Over 18 lakh farmers benefited with MSP value of Rs 57,032.03 cr: Govt Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:49 PM
Ridership, profit lower than projections for Delhi Metro's Phase 3: CAG Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:48 PM
DU Prof who researched on Parkinson's made Fellow of National Academy of Sciences Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:45 PM
'Jagdish Thakor to be new Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president, Rathwa LOP' Thu, Dec 02, 2021, 11:44 PM