Frontex to assist Poland with migrant returns

"Today we see no need to engage Frontex in activities on our border," Grodecki said. Albert Zawada/PAP

Frontex, the EU border and coast guard agency based in Warsaw, is working with Poland to organise the return of irregular migrants to their countries of origin, a deputy interior minister has told PAP.

Warsaw accuses the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of deliberately engineering the migration crisis in an attempt to destabilise Poland and the Baltic states, the borders of which form the eastern external boundary of the European Union. Lithuania has called in Frontex to assist with border control there.

Bartosz Grodecki also said that for now the government sees no need to engage Frontex in securing the Belarusian border, which has been the site of increased migratory pressure in recent months.

"Today we see no need to engage Frontex in activities on our border," Grodecki said. "Currently the stretch of border with Belarus is guarded by over 7,000 officers of the Border Guard, police and soldiers of the Polish Army. There will be more of them, and the Polish-Belarusian border is shorter than the Lithuanian-Belarusian.

"In this component we do not need Frontex's support," he explained. "We want to cooperate with Frontex however in the area of readmission, or the return of migrants to their country of origin."

Grodecki went on to say that Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri declared during a joint visit to the border area on October 4 that the agency would be involved in organising flights from Poland to third countries.

"We want to make use of that offer," Grodecki said. "In this field of assistance Frontex support is important. Frontex has an established returns system. It uses qualified people, tools and financial means."

The deputy interior minister said talks were ongoing on the matter and that a group of people had already received return decisions. "I hope Frontex will soon be able to organise such a flight," he said.