Prime minister: Need more measures against Belarus attempts to derail EU

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14th Lennart Meri Conference day one. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has reiterated the need to combat the abuse of human rights seen in the recent migration crisis sparked by the Belarusian regime on its western, European Union borders. Stepped-up measures are required, Kallas said Friday.

Kallas, who met with European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas in Tallinn Friday, said that: "Using people to destabilize the EU is unacceptable, and we need to consider additional measures."

"The protection of the EU's common external border is in the interests of all member states and is in line with European law. I am pleased that EU institutions, as well as many member states, have reacted quickly to the situation," Kallas went on, calling for unified measures at union level.

Since mid-summer, the numbers of people, many of Iraqi origin, crossing from Belarus into Lithuania, Latvia and Poland has stretched into the thousands, with dozens of people reportedly still stranded in the border zone.

Filmed evidence suggests that the crossings were facilitated and encouraged by Alexander Lukashenko's security forces.

Also on the table at Friday's meeting was the situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing pandemic, BNS reports, with Schinas briefing Kallas on the current state and prospects of the EU's border and migration policies, aimed at enabling the union to better address migration issues.

Schinas said Europe had learned from the recent crisis, stressing the importance of the EU being able to dispel misinformation on the crisis being consumed by the public.

Kallas also emphasized the importance of joint EU action in procuring vaccines for member states, and also highlighted that the rapid and successful introduction of the EU COVID-19 certificate is needed in order to maintain free movement within the union – an issue close to Estonians' heart given many travel for work and other purposes to Finland, Sweden, Latvia and further afield within the EU.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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