The new Polish government and the Belarus border crisis

  Articoli (Articles)
  Veronica Grazzi
  25 May 2024
  3 minutes, 38 seconds

Translated by Andrea Solazzo

On the 14th of May, the much-discussed EU pact on migration and asylum received its final formal approval by the Council, initiating a period in which member states will have two years to implement the new law. Poland (together with Hungary) had voted against and declared that it would have not paid for the solidarity mechanism and would have not received an additional quota of asylum seekers on its territory, even considering the amount of asylum seekers from Belarus and Ukrainian refugees already on its territory.

Poland-Belarus border and the humanitarian situation

The new liberal government in Poland has been in office for about five months with the promise of re-establishing a pro-European government and the constitutional state after about eight years of extreme right-wing administration. The former government is notorious for undermining the independence of the judiciary, monopolising control of state TV, and for undermining several times the right to abortion.

The former government was also notorious for numerous human rights violations at the Poland-Belarus border where, starting from 2021, there have been rejections of asylum seekers that, in about 55 cases documented by Human Rights Watch, have also caused the death of children. Many times, rejection meant abuse by the Belarusian authorities and, during the winter, death due to very cold temperatures. The Poland-Belarus border is mostly a woodland and ultra-monitored area with 180 km of 5.5-metre-high fence, a system of cameras and sensors. The previous government did not allow humanitarian organisations access to the area, as they were often accused of running criminal organisations or aiding the stay of illegals on Polish territory.

According to the Polish Border Guard, there are currently about 300 attempts per day to cross the border. The government recently stated that rescue groups have been set up together with the guards, when at the same time the Deputy Interior Minister responsible for migration issues admitted that rejections will continue “until this migration route will be over”.

The Tusk government's non-change of course

Prime Minister Tusk, instead of dissociating himself from the former government and guaranteeing secure access to asylum, stated that he will invest around €2.5 billion to reinforce the border in the east. They speak about “a big project to build a secure border, including a system of fortifications and landscaping and environmental decisions that will make this border impossible to cross for a potential enemy”. During his visit to the Karakule village, near the border with Belarus, Tusk confirmed that “there will be no funding limits for the security of Poland”. The further reinforcement of the border wall will only increase the number of people stranded on the eastern side who, despite being on Polish territory (the wall is only a few metres from the border line), they are stuck in a limbo and are at risk of being captured by the Belarusians.

Even though leading Polish NGOs have called for an end to the systematic rejections that have been carried out since the crisis of 2021, the current government is not planning any changes of position without considering the actual humanitarian crisis that is developing again at the border. Indeed, Tusk supports that Belarus is fighting a hybrid war by deliberately using migration as a weapon to destabilise the country, as in 2021, when Minsk was accused of transporting migrants from the Middle East to the border and deliberately letting them cross it.

The Polish prime minister also seems to be moving towards externalisation policies. Poland, together with 15 other member states, sent a letter to the European Commission’s Department in charge of Home Affairs, requesting to fight illegal immigration through “global profitable and lasting partnerships with main countries along the migration routes”. As possible models, the signatories pointed to the EU migration the agreements with Tunisia and Turkey, as well as the agreement between Italy and Albania. Another request is to consider a potential amendment to the repatriation directive, and to propose “safe third country designations at EU level”.

Mondo Internazionale APS - Riproduzione Riservata 2024

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Veronica Grazzi

Veronica Grazzi è originaria di un piccolo paese vicino a Trento, Trentino Alto-Adige ed è nata il 10 dicembre 1999.

Si è laureata in scienze internazionali e diplomatiche all’università di Bologna, ed è durante questo periodo che si è appassionata al mondo della scrittura grazie ad un tirocinio presso la testata giornalistica Il Post di Milano. Si è poi iscritta ad una Laurea Magistrale in inglese in Studi Europei ed Internazionali presso la scuola di Studi Internazionali dell’Università di Trento.

Grazie al Progetto Erasmus+ ha vissuto sei mesi in Estonia, dove ha focalizzato i suoi studi sulla relazione tra diritti umani e tecnologia. Si è poi spostata in Ungheria per svolgere un tirocinio presso l’ambasciata d’Italia a Budapest nell’ambito del bando MAECI-CRUI, dove si è appassionata ulteriormente alla politica europea ed alle politiche di confine.

Veronica si trova ora a Vienna, dove sta svolgendo un tirocinio presso l’Agenzia specializzata ONU per lo Sviluppo Industriale Sostenibile. È in questo contesto che ha sviluppato il suo interesse per l’area di aiuti umanitari e diritti umani, prendendo poi parte a varie opportunità di formazione nell’ambito.

In Mondo Internazionale Post, Veronica è un'Autrice per l’area tematica di Diritti Umani.


Diritti Umani


polonia Confine Bielorussia Tusk