Belgium: PM De Croo to visit eastern Europe during three-day trip

Alexander De Croo, Belgian Prime Minister, is leaving from Melsbroek Airport for a three-day trip to Slovakia, Poland, Romania as well as Moldova to have a discussion on the political, military and humanitarian consequences of Russia’s full-scale military operation in Ukraine on Monday morning.

Several official meetings are planned throughout the trip, and De Croo will also take part in several field visits, particularly in the humanitarian field. De Croo aims to show Belgium’s solidarity with the European countries that are most affected by the massive influx of refugees, as per reports.

The Belgian delegation will visit the refugee reception centre in Serock near the Polish capital city of Warsaw and meet the convoy of six trucks chartered by B-Fast (the Belgian Humanitarian Rapid Response Unit) in Rzeszow near the Ukrainian border.

After that, De Croo will visit the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UNICEF office at the Medyka border crossing. Poland is at the forefront of refugee reception. Since the beginning of the war, around 4.4 million Ukrainians have escaped the nation, of which 2.5 million have passed through Poland.

Belgium is present in the Baltic region on the military front with four F-16s based in Estonia and carrying out an air policing mission recently extended to Poland. At the start of the conflict, 300 soldiers were also deployed to Romania under French command in Constanta on the Black Sea as part of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force (VJTF).

The troops will be visited by De Croo following an earlier visit by Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder in mid-March.

This trip to Eastern Europe is the first for the Belgian Prime Minister in the region since the Russian invasion. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Development Cooperation Sophie Wilmès, Ludivine Dedonder and Meryame Kitir, respectively, and the Secretary of State for Asylum Sammy Mahdi have already visited one or more other of these countries.

The visit follows the tightening of EU sanctions against Russia at the end of last week when the EU adopted a 5th package targeting Russian coal, and additional sanctions are under consideration.

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