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Polish MPs back gov't push for stricter border protection rules

18.11.2021 08:00
Polish lawmakers have backed a government plan to strengthen the country's borders amid a migrant crisis on its frontier with Belarus.
The lower house of Polands parliament in session on Wednesday.
The lower house of Poland's parliament in session on Wednesday.Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

The Polish government this week submitted legislation that would allow it to ban entry into areas at risk of migrant pressure and border incidents.

Such bans would be issued for a specific period of time and not apply to those living, working or studying in border areas, or to people using border crossings, according to officials.

At the same time, authorities would have the right to exempt selected individuals, including journalists, from the entry ban.

The lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved those plans in a 245-167 vote with 25 abstentions, state news agency PAP reported.

The measure now goes to the Senate, the upper house of Poland's parliament, for further debate.

The initiative comes amid turmoil on Poland's eastern border with Belarus, where thousands of migrants have gathered in recent days in an attempt to cross illegally into the EU from the former Soviet republic.

Prosecutors on Tuesday opened an investigation into an attack on Polish border forces staged by rock-throwing assailants, Poland's police chief told reporters amid migrant pressure from Belarus.

EU, NATO, US, UN nations condemn Belarus

The EU and its member states, as well as the United States and NATO, have accused Belarus of orchestrating an influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa and pushing them to cross into EU and NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Minsk.

The United States and European members of the UN Security Council last week condemned Belarus for the “orchestrated instrumentalization" of migrants as tensions rose along the Polish-Belarusian border.

The Polish prime minister has said that NATO must take steps to help resolve the crisis on the Belarus border, adding that Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania and Latvia may ask for consultations under Article 4 of the alliance's treaty.

Since September 2, Warsaw has kept the border zone under a state of emergency in the face of the migrant pressure.

Poland plans to build a solid fence along the Belarus frontier, crowned with barbed wire and fitted with electronic surveillance devices. The protective wall is due to be ready by mid-2022.


Source: PAP, IAR