Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Polish minister squirms over EU ‘quarrel’ as legal row threatens to mar Belarus slapdown

Belarus-Poland: Martin Shidash claims Poles are 'under attack'

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Martin Shidash stated Poland was “under attack” by Belarus who he accused of manufacturing the migrant crisis on its shared land border. Mr Shidash said it was not a natural route for migrants to use who are now stuck between the border of Poland and Belarus as both sides ramp up their security to stop the movement of refugees. But Mr Shidash tried to dodge a question from Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow who wanted to know whether Poland was seeing enough support from the European Union following their legal falling out several weeks ago.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mr Shidash was grilled by journalist Jon Snow who wanted to know what happens next with the migrant row.

Mr Snow wondered if Poland’s legal clash with the European Union could have any influence on whether the bloc helps the country in its border clash.

Several weeks ago, Polish courts ruled against EU legal primacy in some judicial decisions sparking outcry from EU leaders.

As part of being a member, EU law has some primacy over national law which the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled against.

Mr Snow asked Mr Shidash: “But are you satisfied that you’re getting all the support you need from the European Union? 

“Or do you believe these previous tensions between you have weakened that?”

Mr Shidash replied: “We do have our dialogue, we do have some challenges in our internal European discussion. 

“But it is a quarrel in the family, we are just discussing several things as members of the EU. 

Tom Tugendhat on military action on the Poland-Belarus border

“But with this phenomenon, we are under an attack and this is a direct threat not only to Poland but also to the unity of the European Union.”

Mr Snow then asked whether Article Four of NATO needed to be triggered to resolve the issue.

Article Four allows members to set up meetings to discuss situations that may threaten the territorial integrity of a country.

Mr Shidash said if the situation deteriorates then Article Four will be forced to use and said Poland did not want to escalate anything.

When asked how the situation would calm down without using NATO, Mr Shidash suggested putting more sanctions on Belarus to pressure them into giving up.

Belarus and Poland are locked in a migrant dispute after Belarus was accused of funnelling migrants to their shared land border.

Migrants who are directed to the border are then stuck as Belarus prevents them from returning and Poland halts them from coming in.

Security forces have bolstered defences on either side with water cannons, barbed wire, and riot police monitoring the area.

The European Union has also clashed with Belarus in the past with members placing sanctions on the country over accusations of corruption.

Journalist Roman Protasevich was on board the flight from Greece to Lithuania which was then grounded by Belarus forces who claimed there was a bomb on board.

The journalist was then arrested, sparking outcry from western countries.

Sanctions have been placed on Belarus companies and airlines.

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