Migration crisis on the EU Eastern border: how the EU can protect borders and human rights

, Berlin time (CET, UTC+1)


  • Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Rasa Juknevičienė, Member of the European Parliament, former Minister of Defence
  • Gerald Knaus, Chairman, European Stability Initiative

Chaired by

  • Piotr Buras, Head of Warsaw Office, European Council on Foreign Relations

Since summer 2021, Poland and Lithuania have been confronted with an unprecedented action by the Lukashenko regime, which aims to exert political pressure on both countries and the European Union. Minsk is using migrants from third countries to create the impression of a refugee crisis, internal destabilisation and deepening divisions.

Despite worsening weather conditions, the influx of migrants from the territory of Belarus is increasing. In October, over 14,000 attempts to illegally cross the border with Poland were recorded (almost twice as many as in September). Also, the migratory pressure on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border, which was suppressed at the beginning of August, is intensifying again.

Poland and Lithuania are directly facing these problems at a time when a common European Union policy is virtually non-existent. There are laws, regulations and new “pact for migration” proposed by the European Commission in October 2020. The problem is that both these formally binding rules and those planned remain only on paper. European law does not actually apply at the EU’s borders.

Lukashenko is attempting to discredit democratic norms and values in the EU, such as the rule of law and human rights. Behind the drama of the migrants on the eastern border lies a fundamental question for the entire European Union: how to reconcile effective border control with respect for human rights and respect for the values on which the Union is built?

In this debate Gerald Knaus, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Rasa Juknevičienė and Piotr Buras will discuss the migration crisis at the EU Eastern border and how the EU can protect border while respecting their values and human rights.

The debate will be held on-the-record and in English with simultaneous translation into Polish.

Join the debate on ECFR Warsaw Facebook