Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has called on EU countries to support Lithuania amid what he called Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko's “cynical policy” of sending migrants to EU borders, Politico Europe news website reported on Friday.
Speaking during the second day of the European Council summit, he floated the idea of “building a wall” on Lithuania's border with Belarus, saying that the EU should help pay for it.
He did agree that the word “wall” was hard to stomach, according to Politico.
Austria has previously expressed support for Lithuania’s plans to build a so-called physical barrier on the country’s border with Belarus amid an influx of migrants. Vilnius says Minsk has been facilitating irregular migration, using it as a tool to punish the European Union for its sanctions against the Minsk regime.
Overhaul of asylum rules
In Brussels, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said the EU needed to overhaul its asylum laws and erect a fence in the short-term, according to Reuters.
"We also should talk about a physical border, which is extremely needed as a short-term measure," he said. "Because nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.”
“Maybe there will be three, four, five thousand migrants staying at the border at the same time or trying to cross the border in different places [...] We have to be decisive,” he added.
Over 4,000 people have entered Lithuania since the beginning of the crisis in the summer, with a similar number reportedly pushed back into Belarus after Lithuania approved the measure in early August.
Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland