Editorial I Lukashenko’s Blackmail to the EU

The situation en the border of Poland with Belarus, triggered by the president Aleksándr Lukashenko, gathers all the features of a gross blackmail to pressure the European Union, supported such a strategy by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Qualify the crisis as hybrid war It is still an euphemism because the work to which the Minsk dictator has given himself is almost no different from the ominous trafficking in human beings that brings huge profits to mafia organizations around the world. Convict thousands of people to endure the freezing weather without any protection from that region of Europe, after a long and costly journey with the promise of securing a better future, exceeds all limits of political opportunism and it must be condemned and fought without subterfuge.

On the other hand, it should be avoided that, because of the confusion and bewilderment created by the ongoing tragedy, the European authorities give up on the Belarus sanctions policy agreed at the time to punish the dictator’s regime and continue to consent hot returns, which violate international legislation on refugees and specifically European legislation in the same area. The moral degradation of the Belarusian regime cannot adulterate the respect and protection of human rights, but to renew the European commitment in defense of them. This includes accepting a non-violent management of the challenge promoted by Lukashenko, although such a procedure has the inevitable and foreseeable political cost and perhaps encourages the dissent of a part of the public opinion.

In this vein, it is reasonable that the Twenty-seven take the case to the UN, even knowing that Russia will prevent any condemnatory initiative from succeeding, but the approval of new sanctions that damage the day-to-day life of the Belarusian government will surely be more effective. On the other hand, political realism leads us to think that the negotiations with the governments of the countries of origin of the displaced will have a limited effect, because the desire to flee from environments where violence reigns and there is no hopeful future in sight is more powerful than the ability to control regimes under permanent suspicion, incapable of or disinterest in the fate of their citizens.

It is both reasonable and necessary for the European institutions to avoid, in favor of the border crisis, that the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, partially or completely withdraws from his attempt to maintain national legislation above the derived legal acquis of the treaties and judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union. If until now the majority opinion has been that the European Union cannot give in on this point, the problem that Poland now faces should not be the occasion to lower the demands on such elementary issues as complying with the letter of Poland’s accession treaty to the European Union. Lower respect for what is signed weaken the cohesion of the Twenty-Seven, set a dangerous precedent, and encourage others –Viktor Orbán, among them – to challenge what community law makes them uncomfortable. It would be unfortunate if Lukashenko’s defiance undermined European construction and rewarded Putin’s stubbornness against such an enterprise


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