Lithuania mulls asking help in accommodating migrants in other EU countries

  • 2021-08-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania is considering asking assistance in accommodating migrants, who illegally cross into the country's territory from Belarus, in other EU countries.

Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte says her government plans to soon ask other EU member states, if the existing migrant situation becomes hardly manageable.

"We are considering it but I cannot say yet when the state will make such a request. But if the situation becomes hardly manageable, of course, we will ask," she told journalists on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the Lithuanian prime minister discussed the ongoing migration crisis the country with visiting European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

"When it comes to the relocation of migrants from Lithuania, we are lacking a mandatory system of support but we have also seen so far that member states are quick and ambitious in reacting to send support in solidarity with Lithuania, in terms of equipment, personnel, so I think they will continue to do that, and we have always a possibility to ask for voluntary sharing of migrants and that's the possibility the European Commission can do if that's asked by Lithuania," the EU commissioner said.

"In my proposal, there's also a mandatory solidarity mechanism to make sure that when a member state that is under pressure, it can have predictable support from other members, not only voluntary," Johansson said.

Lithuania has so far detained over 3,000 illegal migrants this year after they cross into the country from Belarus, which is more than 40 more than over the whole year of 2020.

Border guards say most of the migrants want to get to Western European countries via Lithuania.

A state-level extreme situation is declared in Lithuania over the unprecedented influx of irregular migrants which Lithuanian officials say is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.