Germany proposes more border patrols to stem Belarus migrant flow
Germany has suggested increasing joint patrols along its border with Poland in response to increasing numbers of migrants arriving via Belarus, according to a letter seen by AFP on Tuesday.
The presence of border forces should be “noticeably” increased, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wrote in the letter to his Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski.
Seehofer was “concerned” about the rise in migrant flows, especially from the “middle and near east”, through Belarus into Poland and on into Germany, he wrote in the letter.
The German interior minister offered to “increase the proportion of German federal police forces” participating in joint patrols, leaving Polish forces to tackle migrants crossing the border directly from Belarus.
Seehofer also proposed to call on the European Union’s border agency Frontex for support.
According to figures from the German interior ministry on Monday, around 4,500 people have travelled over the border between Germany and Poland without an entry permit since August.
The EU accuses the Belarusian authorities of flying migrants from the Middle East and Africa to Minsk and then sending them into the bloc on foot in retaliation for sanctions imposed over a crackdown on the opposition.
The surge in people crossing illegally over the EU’s eastern frontier with Belarus has placed major strains on member states unaccustomed to dealing with large-scale arrivals.
Poland has drawn criticism for its hardline stance that has seen border guards push migrants back across the border with Belarus.
Seehofer will address the issue in a federal cabinet meeting on Wednesday before holding a press conference.