The French government has come out in opposition to EU funding for the construction of a wall on the border between Poland and Belarus as thousands of Middle Eastern migrants are attempting to breach the European frontier.
On Monday, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński announced on social media that the construction of a wall along the border with Belarus would go ahead this year. Kamiński said the work will be carried out in shifts around the clock, with the construction being divided into four sections.
According to the local Polish newspaper, the Gazeta Wyborcza, the construction of the wall is expected to commence in December and will be completed by the first half of next year. The wall is expected to be 5.5 meters (18ft) in height and will stretch across 180 kilometres (111 miles) of the border with Belarus.
Reacting to the announcement France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune said he was against the EU funding the wall to protect Europe’s borders.
“I am not for a Europe which bristles with barbed wire or is covered with walls,” Beaune said in comments reported by Le Figaro.
Others in France have backed Poland’s efforts to defend its borders, including the EU’s former Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, who is currently a candidate for next year’s presidential election in France.
“We need to help the Polish government build a strong border,” Barnier said.
The statement from Beaune comes after French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin reportedly agreed to work towards de-escalating the migrant crisis. Mr Putin is a close ally to Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, whom the EU has accused of orchestrating the migrant crisis as retaliation against sanctions imposed on Belarus by the bloc earlier this year.
Lukashenko has been accused of trafficking migrants to the borders of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia after flying them over from the Middle East on airliners to Minsk.
Migrants Again Massing on Poland Border, Lured by False Promise of Free Passage to Germany https://t.co/yexTiBNWiV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 15, 2021
While Poland has already constructed miles of barbed razor wire fencing along the border with Belarus, migrants have been seen using axes, shovels, and bolt cutters to break through the barrier. The migrants have also been seen felling trees onto the fences in order to make breaches easier.
Polish border officers have been also attacked during the latest wave of migration, with migrants pelting the Poles with stones and using strobe lights and lasers in an apparent attempt to blind the border guards.
It is currently unclear whether the European Union will commit any funding to help construct the border wall on the Polish frontier, however, last week EU Council President Charles Michel opened the door to the possibility, stating that the bloc has the legal right to fund such measures.
A similar wall is expected to be built in Lithuania, which also borders Belarus and has also seen large influxes of Middle Eastern migrants attempting to breach its borders. Alongside Latvia, both Poland and Lithuania are reportedly considering invoking Article 4 of the NATO agreement in response to the migrant crisis, one step before possible armed conflict if Article 5 is triggered.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart London in August, Lithuanian MP Dovilė Šakalienė defended the use of a border wall, saying: “We have to protect ourselves because this is the border of democracy. Our eastern border is the end of the EU and the end of democracy.”
Poland Passes Law to Turn Away Migrants at Border and Build a Wall https://t.co/uX6HZPPaPN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 16, 2021
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