EU to complicate visa process for Belarusian citizens in response to growing aggression

The European Union will limit the issue of visas to Belarusian officials in response to the aggressive attempts by Minsk to destabilize the situation using migrants, said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Wednesday, 29 September.
«We have an aggressive regime – Lukashenko – that is basically forcing migrants […] onto Europe’s border to destabilize the European Union,» Johansson told journalists. «It is an act of aggression.»
This announcement was presented by the commissioner in regards to the situation with attempts to reform Europe’s migration system. She said that according to Europol, about 90% of illegal border trespassers have ended up in the EU with help from human traffickers,
stressing that member states should increase their efforts in battling criminals groups of this kind.
In regards to Belarus, Johansson said visa issue procedure will be made stricter in regards to his country’s officials. He added that the tightening will not extend to ordinary citizens.
«What we see here is Lukashenko’s exhaustion,» she said.
«It is a regime that has denied its people fair and free elections. It is a regime that has put members of the political opposition in prison. It is a regime that hijacked a passenger flight […], but now […] in an act of aggression it uses innocent people. It is not a regime we should cooperate with.»
Last year Brussels and Minsk reached an agreement on easing visa issue procedure and reducing the visa fee for Belarusian citizens that want to visit Europe for a short while.
However, relations between the two sides worsened after presidential elections in Belarus, accusations of election fraud and brutal crackdown on protests that followed.
Since then Minsk has left the agreement with EU on migrant re-admission.
Additionally, Lukashenko’s regime has started organizing transfer of border trespassers from the Middle East and Africa to the EU by directing them over its borders shared with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.
Although Brussels provides support to countries impacted by this artificial migrant crisis, concerns are nonetheless voiced in regards to the border protection measures employed by those countries. Brussels seems especially unhappy with the approach used by Warsaw.
«It is completely unacceptable for people to die on our borders,» Johansson, pointing to the five dead bodies found on the Polish border.
The commissioner said on 30 September she will travel to Warsaw to meet with Polish Minister of Interior Affairs Mariusz Kamiński.
BNN presents terms used by Latvian Office of Migration and Citizenship Affairs in regards to people that cross the border for one reason or another:
Asylum seeker – a citizen of a third country that has requested asylum in the Republic of Latvia in accordance with Asylum Law and whose case remains under review. This means this person is neither or a refugee or holds and alternative status in Latvia.
Refugee – a person given the status of a refugee in accordance with the Asylum Law. This means this person is always an asylum seeker at first and then becomes a refugee.
Immigrant – Latvian legislation does not cover this term. In accordance with Part 1 of Section 1 of the Immigration Law, any person that is not a citizen or non-citizen of of Latvia is a foreigner.
Illegal immigrant – another term not included in Latvia’s legislation. In light of recent events institutions prefer to use the following term: illegal border trespasser.