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The EU Barbed-Wire External Perimeter

The Belarusian Instrumentalisation of Migration: Implications for the EU Migration and Asylum System

Written by: Lucrezia Sala
Edited by: James Edward Colombo
Supervised by: Nicola Maria Mossone

In May 2021, an increasing number of people started to sporadically cross the European borders from Belarus. These migratory
flows, artificially created by state-sponsored actions from President Alexander Lukashenko, mainly affected three European bordering
countries: Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. This specific case exemplifies the heavily debated instrumentalisation of migration, or, as specified by the European Commission, the series of events in which “a third country instigates irregular migratory flows into the Union
by actively encouraging or facilitating the movement of third-country nationals to the external borders”. It can be easily understood
that these actions are perpetrated with the objective of destabilising and asserting pressure on the Member States and the European
Union (EU) at large, with the final intention of undermining vital State functions, such as territorial integrity and national security in
primis. In the short term, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland have reacted to the growing number of undocumented individuals through stricter border controls, whilst in the long run, the instrumentalisation of migration has translated into a proper humanitarian crisis that has shaken the Union. Whilst the latter had already sanctioned key political and economic figures of the Belarusian regime after
the fraudulent presidential victory of 2020, EU countries bordering Belarus have proceeded in different ways, at times even acting
against the EU acquis and international law.