Today, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas discussed the issues relating to illegal immigration supported by Lukashenka’s regime, border defence of the European Union and human rights with his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts and the President of the European Parliament.
Ratas underlined that the European Union had to keep the attention of its allies and partners on the situation on its external border. “We have to react to the hybrid activities of Lukashenka’s regime decisively and rapidly,” he said. “The human trafficking supported by Belarus is unacceptable. Joint efforts of the European Union Member States have helped to deter the wave of illegal border crossing for the present, but it is important to stay on guard together.”
At the trilateral meeting with his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts, Ratas pointed out that the illegal immigrants were not the only problem, as today it was necessary also to keep in mind Russia’s military exercise Zapad, which would take place in September, and the situation in Afghanistan. “If Lithuania or Latvia are attacked, it is an attack against the whole European Union,” Ratas emphasised. The Speakers agreed that the attack against the external border of the EU was brutal.
Ratas said that the future of Europe and enlargement of the Union to West Balkan had been discussed as well. As regards the future development and the economy of the European Union, overcoming the COVID virus is also important. At the meeting, the Speakers also spoke of the situation in Afghanistan. It was found that in regard to the developments in Afghanistan and the threats originating from there, it was necessary to be ready for everything because Taliban was unpredictable and actually there was nobody with whom to negotiate, as our understanding of international relations was based on international law, which Taliban did not follow.
At the meeting with President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, the necessity of cooperation between the European Union Member States and the need to negotiate with the countries of origin of illegal immigration on stopping direct flights to Minsk were discussed.
In the afternoon, Speakers of the Parliaments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the European Parliament examined the situation on the Lithuania-Belarus border at Padvarionys border post and paid their respects to the victims of the massacre in Medininkai, where OMON special troops from Riga killed seven Lithuanian customs officers in July 1991.
As of yesterday, 4091 migrants had illegally crossed the Lithuanian border.
President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas, Speaker of the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen and President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli gave a joint press conference at the Lithuanian Border Guard School. At the press conference, all parties emphasised that the most important task in the region was ensuring the security of the borders of the European Union and its Member States. It is necessary to join forces and cooperate in every way in order to find common solutions to stop the flow of illegal immigrants sent by Lukashenka’s regime.
Video recording of the press conference can be viewed on YouTube.
Photos of the visit (Erik Peinar, Riigikogu)