Lithuania, Latvia and Poland are currently dealing with a migrant crisis triggered and fuelled by the regime in Belarus. They have no experience in managing such crises, and might find value in studying the approaches, solutions, and mistakes of EU peers such as Italy and Spain, countries that have often been on the frontline in dealing with illegal migration.
Spain and Italy have both had to deal with high numbers of arrivals in short periods of time, overloading their migrant reception systems. They have both suffered the economic, political, and social consequences of migration crises that continue to impact their societies. Migration has become a hot political issue, dividing populations, and distorting the discourse of political parties. Spain has also recently experienced the weaponisation of migrants in the city of Ceuta, where Morocco’s political bargaining is reminiscent of the strategy adopted by Minsk.
There is no magic solution for irregular migration. In some cases, cooperating with origin and transit countries has been a fruitful mitigation strategy. But dealing with regimes such as Belarus, which turns migrants into geopolitical weapons, while at the same time ensuring respect for the human rights of the migrants themselves and the humanitarian obligations of target countries, continues to present a challenge.