EU eyes blacklisting airlines over migrant flights, not intimidated by gas threats

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BRUSSELS, Nov 11 (Reuters) – The European Union will seek to blacklist airlines that transport to Belarus migrants who later attempt to cross the EU border and will coordinate its planned sanctions against Minsk with the United States, the European Commission said on Thursday.

“It is clear to us that sanctions are the response that should be used with the Belarus regime. The (Commission) president has mentioned …that there will be a proposal to extend the current sanctions,” a Commission spokeswoman told a regular news briefing.

“The president also said that we would look at legal means to introduce sanctions including blacklisting of certain airlines that are transporting migrants to Belarus to be later pushed on to the border with Poland, so they are involved in the smuggling of migrants. We will be aligning practical actions with the United States,” she said.

Asked about Belarus threats to stop gas transit from Russia to the EU in response to any new EU sanctions, the Commission spokeswoman said:

“We have seen threats, what we are saying is that we are not going to be intimidated by any potential action by the Belarus regime using gas as a tool.”

European Union foreign ministers may give the green light for a fifth Belarus sanctions package at their meeting on Monday in Brussels, a diplomat said on Thursday, adding the package could include further listings of individuals and companies.

“The work at the fifth sanctions package is in full swing,” the diplomat said. “If all goes well, the foreign ministers could give the green light on Monday.”

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