Belarus: We must stand in line at the moment of trial

Today, MEPs debated the situation in Belarus and its border with the EU.

In the debate, ECR Group Co-chairman Prof Ryszard Legutko took the floor giving the content of the letter from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was prevented from speaking during the plenary session. “I do it all the more willingly because they reflect the views of my group, many millions of my compatriots, and also the people of Europe,” said Legutko.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s letter reads:

“Exactly at the moment, several thousand Polish officers and soldiers are patrolling the eastern border of the European Union. For the first time since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the integrity of the borders of Poland and the Baltic states is under immediate threat. This is a long shadow of Russia’s neo-imperial politics.

For several weeks, Alexander Lukashenko has been sending hundreds of civilians to the Polish-Belarusian border every day. And this is not a repetition of the 2015 migration crisis. We are dealing with a planned provocation in which migrants are only Lukashenka’s tools and the aim is to destabilize the situation in Europe.

There is no need to prove Lukashenko’s intentions. He himself provides such evidence unequivocally. “We will massacre all the scum you - the West - financed”. These words did not fall in the secret conference. This is how Alexander Lukashenko spoke on BBC television.

For years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been consistently striving to rebuild its imperial position and subjugate part of Europe. Its strength is our passivity. When it attacked Georgia, we were unable to oppose it. When it torn off Crimea from Ukraine, we were unable to stop it. When Alexander Lukashenka rigged the presidential election, we lacked the determination to defend the Belarusian people from dictatorship. When Vladimir Putin himself started a game aimed at playing the interests of individual European countries, we lacked the solidarity that would put a dam on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

I write “we”, although Poland has been firmly opposed to each of these matters from the very beginning. I am writing “we” because we are all victims of this policy in the long run, all of Europe.

A regular battle for the future of Europe is taking place on the eastern borders of the EU, on the Polish-Belarusian border. It is high time we all realized this.

This is a conflict that takes place in the field of information, where almost every day Russian troll farms bombard the Internet with fake news. The conflict takes place in cyberspace - not a week without a report of cyber attacks coming from the East. This conflict takes place in the economic field, where every now and then Russia is blackmailing other countries by turning off the gas taps.

But at the same time, this conflict does not mean that Russia has abandoned direct forms of violence, as can be seen by Polish, Lithuanian or Latvian soldiers.

We need clear rules that will allow Europe to take the lead and block the next steps of Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenka.

First, no concessions. Things had gone too far. Russia and Belarus have crossed all possible borders and cannot be allowed to do more.

Second, nothing about us without us. Any attempt to resolve a conflict must be based on an agreement. Any attempt to negotiate bypassing certain countries is a success for Vladimir Putin.

Third, solidarity in the face of a common threat. This crisis does not only affect Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. This is a wider matter.

Fourth, words are no longer enough. We must act decisively, through sanctions.

Fifth, transatlantic cooperation. This conflict has the dimension of a civilization clash and it requires an appropriate response not only within the EU, but also we need to extend this cooperation to NATO.

Sixth, a common energy policy. The EU is being blackmailed into Russia’s energy because we continue to play against each other and not for each other in energy policy. Until that changes, we can be sure that Putin will play these interests to his advantage.

Seventh, Europe is more than the EU. Countries that remain outside the EU, such as Ukraine and Moldova, must get a signal that they will not be left alone to the mercy of Moscow’s neo-imperial policy. We must come back with more energy to the idea of enlarging the Union with new members.

These are the seven steps that we must take. Otherwise, Europe will stand still and the ground beneath us will begin to collapse.

The security of Europe is our common concern. This is the deepest meaning of our alliances - to stand in line at the moment of trial. And these alliances should be confirmed not only with words, but also with specific political decisions and actions.”

Prime Minister Morawiecki in his letter.

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