The EEAS maintains that the observed 50-fold increase of irregular crossings from Belarus into the EU, is not a reflection of the inability of the Belarus administration to comply with their obligations in combatting illegal migration and human trafficking. There are no objective reasons for such a sharp increase in illegal crossings on the route in question. The EU condemns the instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes and urges the authorities in Belarus to stop this practice.
Irregular migration cannot be used as a bargaining chip. Since the Council Conclusions of October 2020, the authorities in Belarus have been fully aware of the EU’s gradual approach to the use of sanctions and of what has to be done for the EU to lift its sanctions and normalise relations. The EU remains ready to substantially step up its political engagement, sectoral cooperation, and financial assistance to Belarus provided that its authorities stop repression, promote a serious, credible and inclusive political process resulting in free and fair elections under the OSCE/ODIHR's observation, and provide guarantees for the rule of law and for respect for human rights.