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English Section

Polish defence minister announces bill to build wall on Belarus border

12.10.2021 12:15
Poland’s defence minister on Tuesday said the government would submit a bill to construct a permanent wall on the country's border with Belarus amid a growing surge of migrants.
Polands Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Tuesday said the government would come up with a bill to construct a permanent wall on the border with Belarus, amid mounting migrant pressure.
Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Tuesday said the government would come up with a bill to construct a permanent wall on the border with Belarus, amid mounting migrant pressure.PAP/Mateusz Marek

Speaking in an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio, Mariusz Błaszczak said the legislation would be drawn up by the interior ministry and “is not so easy to draft due to various legal issues."

He added Poland would draw on the experiences of Hungary during a 2015 migrant crisis, when Budapest “constructed a permanent wall on the frontier with Serbia.”

Błaszczak said the existing barbed-wire fence on Poland's border with Belarus, as well as the presence of 3,000 troops, were helping minimise the inflow of migrants, “who are being exploited by the Lukashenko regime ... in order to bring about a migrant crisis.”

Błaszczak added that, "depending on the situation," his defence ministry was ready to double the number of troops deployed to the border "without delay.”

He said he had already decided to “increase the number of soldiers who are helping the Border Guard patrol the frontier” because “the migrant pressure remains very acute.”

Błaszczak also told Polish Radio he had discussed the migration issue with the foreign ministers of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as Egypt during a meeting in Budapest on Monday.

On Tuesday, the leaders of these five countries were expected to discuss the topic at a summit in the Hungarian capital, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

According to the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily newspaper, the bill to build a permanent wall on the Polish-Belarusian border could be unveiled later this week, with PLN 500 million (EUR 109 million) allocated for the purpose

Poland and fellow EU members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have accused Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a "hybrid war."

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited Poland in late September, agreeing with Warsaw’s arguments that “firm steps” were needed against Belarus, according to officials.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last Wednesday his country enjoyed full support within the European Union as it worked to defend itself against a migrant influx and a "hybrid war" being waged by Belarus.

Late last month, Polish lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to extend a state of emergency in parts of two regions along the country's eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a growing migrant surge.

The state of emergency gives authorities broader powers to monitor and control the movement of people on the Polish-Belarusian border, which is also the eastern border of the European Union.

(pm/gs)

Source: IAR, PAP