Romania could find itself in a new stalemate, as President Alexander Lukashenko tries to stretch the rope on the Polish-Belarusian border conflict. He threatened that European states would deprive the European Union of supplies Gazprom, the main external supplier of natural gases of Romania.
Gas crisis on the rise: Threats to the EU
Access to natural gas pipelines is used as a blackmail by Alexander Lukasenko, which hopes that European states will thus open their borders to migrants and refugees from the Middle East, located on the border between Poland and Belarus. Lukashenko said he was ready to suspend the flow of Gazprom.
However, the Belarusian president’s threats against the European bloc have sparked protests from Moscow, which has been accused of orchestrating the migrant crisis with Minsk. The Kremlin has warned Belarus not to violate its contractual agreements.
“Do you think that I keep some contracts ?! Be serious… ”
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Belarus of acting under “unprecedented, unjustified and aggressive” pressure from the West. At the same time, he said that Vladimir Putin “is based on the fact that this will not lead to a breach of our obligations to European gas buyers, especially at such a difficult time for Europeans.”
However, Lukashenko seems to have ignored the warnings of his closest ally. “While Poland and others are taking more action against Belarus, do you think I have any contracts tied to me ?! Be serious, he should know better than that, “Alexander Lukashenko told the Belarusian News Agency.
Lukashenko is taking advantage of the crisis to increase his influence
Most of the EU’s gas is imported from abroad, and Russia is by far the largest supplier. With winter fast approaching, many experts fear that declining supply and insecure flows from the east could lead to a full-blown energy crisis.
Lukashenko is likely to be aware of this dilemma and rely on it to gain influence over the European bloc. “Poland has this idea of closing the border with Belarus. Okay, let them do it. If I close it, then they have to think about how they will buy energy from Russia, “Lukashenko said.
Brussels reacted immediately
In an attempt to ease the situation, officials from Brussels on Wednesday, they proposed limiting migrants’ rights to allow faster deportations and stays in border camps for up to four months. The proposals have been put forward by the European Commission (EC) and, if approved, will weaken the procedures for protecting refugees.
At the same time, EC President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed raising funding for border management to £ 169 million ($ 226 million) to help Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
“If we look at the situation on the EU’s border with Belarus, we have mobilized all our diplomatic power, reaching out to our partners, but also to our countries of origin – which have been very successful – to persuade them to take responsibility. so that the population is not trapped in Belarus. We have used sanctions against the individuals and authorities involved in these hybrid attacks, and we are closely coordinating our sanctions with the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. So we have effective tools, “said European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen.