Wednesday, December 1

Brussels proposes to sanction transport companies that participate in illegal human trafficking

  • “What happens at our borders is not a migration problem, but a security problem,” says the Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas.

  • Von der Leyen denounces the “all-inclusive offers: visas, flights, hotels and taxis and buses to the border” sponsored by Belarus

The attempt to destabilization from European Union by the Belarusian President, Aleksándr Lukashenko, promoting the passage of immigrants through its border with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, already has a European response. The Community Executive has proposed this Tuesday a new legal framework that will allow punish all kinds of transport operating companies -from shipping, rail or land companies to airlines- that participate in the illicit human trafficking or facilitate it. The proposal follows the decision of the Twenty-seven a week ago to extend the sanctions regime to act against airlines, travel agencies and intermediaries involved in the transfer of immigrants to Belarus.

“What is happening in our borders is not a migratory problem, but a security problem. And the Union is showing that the response will be implacable, “explained the vice president. Margaritis Schinas. “To protect our borders, and to protect people, we are ending Lukashenko’s unlicensed travel operation. The possible route to Europe is a legally paved road, not an irregular forest track,” added the immigration commissioner. , Ylva Johansson.

Their voices have also been joined by that of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, which before the plenary session of the European Parliament has described as a “cruel hybrid attack” the instrumentalization of immigration by Lukashenko, whose regime has “initiated and organized” a migration crisis in cooperation with the smuggling networks. “The strategy used by Belarus is very clearly based on the complicity of tour operators and their intermediaries. There are specialized travel agents that offer all-inclusive offers: visas, flights, hotels and taxis and buses to the border, “the German denounced before the plenary session of the European Parliament.

List of means of transport

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“Let’s be clear: these migrants are being viciously deceived by false promises. We have to combat this. That is why we propose that a list of all modes of transport be drawn up based on international international law on trafficking and smuggling of migrants.” He added about the new proposal that will allow the EU to add one more instrument to its toolbox and that must now be adopted in codecision by the Council and the European Parliament.

The European Commission includes in the proposal a wide range of possibilities to sanction conduct such as that promoted by Minsk, whom it considers responsible for the recent events on the border with the EU but which could not have occurred “without certain transport operators contributing consciously. or unconsciously “to the exploitation of people. Measures range from limiting the operations of carriers in the European market to the suspension of licenses or authorization, the suspension of refueling or maintenance rights within the Union, the prohibition of transit or flying over the Union, and even of make technical stops or stop at its ports.

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