Poland wins France’s “solidarity” in migrant crisis at Belarusian border

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France and the countries of the European Union will support Poland in its border clash with Belarus, said President Emmanuel Macron.

As Poland intensifies diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue, more and more migrants have attempted to force border crossings at two separate locations overnight.

Mr. Macron “reaffirmed his solidarity with Poland in the face of the destabilization efforts it is facing on its eastern border” during a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Paris.

“They also discussed the issue of the rule of law in Poland,” said a statement released by France. “The President reiterated his concerns about this and called on the Polish government to find a solution which preserves the fundamental values ​​of the European Union.”

They met as EU leaders grapple with what European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called Belarus’ attempt to use migrants to destabilize the EU.

Poland, as an EU border country, is an attractive prospect for many migrants arriving from war-torn countries – France and Germany being among the preferred final destinations.

The border crisis had been boiling for weeks before exploding in early November.

The EU believes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko engineered the crisis by encouraging migrants to travel to the border in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Belarus for human rights violations.

As of Wednesday, around 15,000 migrants were massed on either side of the border in freezing and inhospitable conditions, with around 12,000 Polish soldiers, border guards and police in place.

Although fewer people have gathered at the border in recent days, Poland believes the reduction is due to a change in tactics by Belarus, which it says is now moving migrants to the border area in small groups.

Polish border guards said they saw two groups of migrants overnight, one comprising 100 people and the other around 40.

Mr Macron’s renewed support comes as the EU is locked in a dispute with Warsaw over press freedom and the independence of the Polish judiciary.

In October, Polish courts questioned the supremacy of EU law in a court ruling, a ruling the EU interpreted as a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order and which made fear that Poland could eventually get out of the bloc.

Updated: November 24, 2021, 13:50


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