Updated at 10:12,17-09-2019

Latvia set to build fence along Russian, Belarusian border: Bid to curb illegal migration?

Cez, belsat.eu/en/, via grani.lv

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma warns against a new wave of migrants from the Middle East. In order to combat illegal migration Latvia may build a fence on the border with Belarus.

In recent times the number of illegal crossings of the Latvian border from Belarus has significantly increased.

“This fact not only raises concern abour border security, but also makes one wonder if any other route for refugees travelling to the European Union has appeared. Two groups have already got [into Latvia] from Belarus. Many European countries build fences and it could be a possible solution,” Straujuma said.

The head of the Latvian government mentioned Hungary as an example: “Hungary built a fence on the border with Serbia. As far as I understand, they are going to do the same on the border with other countries. Croatia is thinking about building a fence. In this case, it will be harder to get into the EU,” she said.

The Latvians are protesting against the placement of refugees from the Middle East: they declared the country could accept no more than 800 people.

The most important task is the protection of the external borders of the Union, Straujuma stressed:

“There will be a fence with third countries. It will be really scary if we start to build fences inside Europe.”

Previously, the Latvian authorities announced purchasing plots of private land close to the border with Russia. A fence along parts of the 270-kilometer borderline is to be build to keep illegal migrants out of the small Baltic country. Some 300 migrants have entered Latvia illegally from Russia this year.

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said on October 20 the barrier will cover 90 kilometers of the land border in several sections and will be equipped with high-tech sensors, RFE/RL reports.

It’s part of a 20 million euro ($23 million) project over the next four years to strengthen and better mark Latvia’s border with its eastern neighbor.