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Poland to apply for EUR 200 mln in EU funding for border wall

Poland will apply for more than EUR 200 million in EU funds for the construction of a border wall on the country’s border with Belarus. Deputy Minister of Interior Maciej Wąsik broke the news during the Senate committee on Wednesday.

Apart from co-financing the construction of the wall, some of the funds would also be earmarked for equipment to be used by the Polish Border Guard.

The estimated cost of constructing border barriers there is PLN 1.6 billion (EUR 350 million). Most of the funds will come from the Integrated Border Management Fund if everything goes according to Warsaw’s plans. The estimated cost for the border wall amounts to EUR 350 million.

The deputy minister told the Senate that the vast majority of the illegal migrants trying to enter Poland view it as a transit country on their way to Germany and other countries in Western Europe.

“Their goal, those who are now in Belarus and knocking on the door of the EU, is Germany,” he stated.

He added “and they will have a problem. We are helping our German partners in maintaining some rigour in their migration policy. We are helping them out because we are a loyal EU member and we realise that this is our obligation.”

The debate about EU funding for border walls started after the Interior ministers from 12 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and the Czech Republic, Slovakia) wrote the European Commission with such a request on October 7th.

Brussels has rejected these plans, with a number of EU politicians coming out against the idea. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen stated during a recent EU summit that she is “very clear on the fact that there is a long-standing common position of the Commission and the European Parliament, that there will be no financing of barbed wire and walls”.

Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson was also negative despite stating that countries have “the possibility and the right to build fences”.

However, she quickly added “but as to whether we should use European funds, which are limited, to finance the construction of fences instead of other equally important things, that is another question”.

Poland has so far seen more than 14,000 attempts of illegal crossings into Poland from Belarus only in the month of October.

The Belarusian regime started flying in migrants from Africa and the Middle East earlier this year, encouraging them to illegally cross into the EU through the country’s borders with the EU member states Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Experts say that Minsk has copied a strategy of “weaponising illegal migration” earlier used by Turkey against Greece and Morocco against Spain. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is in conflict with the European Union after the bloc threw its support behind the democratic movement in Belarus, which took to the streets in massive numbers following the announcement of a falsified presidential election result last August. After months of street protests, the regime in Minsk managed to regain control of the streets by a brutal crackdown against the democratic movement and to incarcerate thousands of political prisoners.

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