Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

Tusk scolds Polish PM for Auschwitz comments

  • Polish PM Szydlo's government has been a staunch opponent of the EU's migration quota scheme (Photo: Pawel Kula / Sejm.)

Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo came under fire for a speech she made on Wednesday (14 June) at a ceremony in Auschwitz in which she seemed to have defended her government's anti-migrant policy.

"Auschwitz is a lesson showing that everything needs to be done to protect one's citizens," Szydlo said at the commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the first prisoners arriving to the Nazi death camp.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The comment was seen by critics as Szydlo defending her position not to allow asylum seekers into Poland under EU migration quotas a day after the European Commission launched a legal probe into Warsaw's non-compliance.

European Council chief and former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk tweeted: "Such words in this place [Auschwitz] should never come from the mouth of a Polish prime minister."

Leszek Balcerowicz, the former chairman of the National Bank of Poland, tweeted: "Is Beata Szydlo extremely cynical, or did she suffer from moral colour blindness? And may not understand the sense of the words that she utters?".

Szydlo's remarks originally appeared in a tweet by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), but this was later removed following the outcry.

A government spokesman, Rafal Bochenek, said that people should listen to the entire speech of the prime minister before making any judgment.

"If you look hard, bad intentions can be found in every expression. I suggest you listen to the entire speech of Premier Szydlo," he said.

Szydlo also said in her speech that politicians must make sure that "such terrible events as those that took place in Auschwitz and other places of martyrdom never happen again", Reuters quoted her as saying.

Szydlo was born in the town of Oswiecim, where the former Nazi death camp is situated.

Opinion

Forcing refugees on Poland will do more harm than good

While the principle behind the EU's decision to take action against Poland for rejecting its refugee quota is understandable, the move could have damaging long-term consequences while bringing absolutely no benefit at all.

Poland avoids talks on rule-of-law sanctions

EU ministers meeting in Brussels asked the Polish government to reverse its judicial reform, in their first discussion of the European Commission's probe.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  2. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  3. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  4. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  5. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  6. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  7. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  8. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us