Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, pledged to support Lithuania on Friday (July 2). Lithuania is passing the rapidly growing wave of Middle Eastern immigration through the 679-kilometer border with Belarus.
The Lithuanian government declared a state of emergency on Friday. In the 24 hours as of Friday morning, 150 immigrants had crossed the border illegally, exceeding the number of people who entered the country in any year of the previous three years.
“Here, we do see a pattern, a pattern that is politically motivated. In these difficult times, the European Commission and the European Union will stand with you”, Von der Lein was in Vilnius with the country’s President Gitana Said Nauseda and Prime Minister Ingrid Simonite at a joint press conference.
“One thing is certain: your concerns and problems in Lithuania are European problems. What I want to emphasize is that in this difficult period, we are really on your side,” she added.
The head of the EU Executive Office stated that the European Commission can allow Lithuania to obtain emergency funds to control “abnormal situations” and will send Frontex officials from the EU border and coast guard agency to step up patrols.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania stated in mid-June that she believed Belarus was behind the recent surge in illegal immigration from Lithuania. Earlier, the Lithuanian President threatened that Belarus would no longer prevent immigrants from crossing its western border.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated in a speech to Parliament on May 26 that the country will no longer prevent immigrants from crossing its western border.
“We used to catch migrants here in droves – now, forget it, you will catch them yourself”, Lukashenko told EU countries, this was in response to forcing a plane carrying Belarusian holdings in the country. Sanctions imposed after the dissident’s Ryanair plane landed in Minsk. , Where he was arrested.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Friday that he could not contact the Belarusian authorities to discuss immigration issues.
The minister stated that he is expected to travel to Iraq and Turkey to discuss the issue of curbing immigration because he believes that these migrants fly to Minsk on regular direct flights from Baghdad and Istanbul.
“Most of these people will need to leave Lithuania and go home because unfortunately, they will not be able to obtain political asylum,” he said at a government meeting broadcast on television.
According to the Lithuanian Border Guard, more than half of the 822 migrants this year came from Iraq, but also from Iran, Syria, Guinea, Turkey and Sri Lanka.