Thursday

20th Jun 2019

Poland defends EU refugee decision

  • Warsaw: Stachanczyk said Poland can express a preference for Christian refugees (Photo: metaphox)

The Polish government has defended its agreement to EU migrant relocations, amid tricky domestic politics.

Piotr Stachanczyk, its state secretary for immigration, told press in Brussels on Tuesday (22 September), that Poland had a bigger say in talks on the scheme because it abandoned the No camp, which contained the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Korwin party website on Wednesday (Photo: partiakorwin.pl)

“We couldn’t have blocked the [EU] Council decision even if we were four. We could have said No and had no say in the negotiations, or we could have done what we did”, he noted.

He said one of Warsaw's red lines was to remove a European Commission “key” - on how to redistribute migrants based on population size and wealth - from the EU legal text.

“Member states have agreed to the figures, but excluded from the decision any system of counting, which could, in future, be used as a precedent for further quotas. There’s no such mechanism. There’s just the naked figures that we agreed”, he explained.

He said if Ukrainian refugees arrive en masse in Poland, then it'll “almost automatically” stop taking people from Greece and Italy.

He noted the EU system lets Warsaw express a preference for Christian instead of Muslim refugees.

He also described Tuesday’s deal as a trade-off on national security.

He said the system will only be implemented if Greece and Italy seal borders and register migrants.

He said the “real danger” isn't relocating 120,000 refugees, but having two “holes” in EU borders - Greece and Italy - where “3,000 to 5,000 people a day enter the EU and disappear somewhere”.

He also said only refugees who've been vetted “not just by our security services, but jointly by the services of all member states” will be allowed in.

The official downplayed the numbers.

He said Poland will initially take 4,600 to 4,800 people, based on 66,000 relocations from Greece and Italy.

But he noted it'll take a separate Council decision, “perhaps one year from now”, to relocate a second batch of 54,000 people.

With Polish elections round the corner on 25 October, he added there’ll be no new arrivals in Poland “any time soon”, because the system will be slow to get up and running.

Scandal?

For her part, Beata Szydlo, from the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party, told Polish TV on Wednesday that Poland “cheated” its allies - the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.

She said it’s false to claim the EU decision isn't a precedent.

“The parameters, which were imposed yesterday on nation states, are a precedent which can, in years to come, result … in us taking in additional groups [of refugees]”.

She also said the 4,600-or-so figure is fake because family members will be allowed to join initial arrivals.

“The [EU] decision … is a scandal. It was adopted against national security and without the agreement of the Polish people”.

Far-right

Szydlo is running for PM against the incumbent, Ewa Kopacz, from the centre-right Civic Platform party.

The latest poll, by Millward Brown for Polish TVN and TVN24 on Monday, says Szydlo is ahead on 33 percent, with Kopacz on 22.

The far-right Korwin party is on 7 percent, up two points from the last survey, with pundits saying it might link up with Law and Justice in a coalition.

Korwin's website, on Wednesday, displayed an image of masked men with guns and the slogan “No to an Islamic district in our city!”.

EU says Greece, Germany breaking asylum law

The EU Commission has said it "means business" on enforcing EU asylum law, announcing 40 new cases on non-compliance as EU leaders meet on the migrant crisis.

Populist right-wingers set to win Polish election

Surveys ahead of Sunday’s elections in Poland show the right-wing Law and Justice party surging ahead, in a development which could spell trouble for Polish solvency and EU relations.

MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower

Ana Gomes, a socialist MEP from Portugal, has accused national authorities of erring on the side of corruption by detaining a whistleblower who helped expose tax evasion by some of Europe's biggest football stars.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson vs. Hunt to replace May as UK leader
  2. EU leaders take aim at Russia's role in Ukraine
  3. EUobserver appoints new interim editor-in-chief
  4. Ombudsman: Tusk's staff should record lobby meetings
  5. Tusk now 'more cautious' on top jobs decision at summit
  6. Mogherini: my replacement 'needs security experience'
  7. Irish PM: 'enormous hostility' to new Brexit extension
  8. Merkel hopes to name commission chief by early July

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Additional summit over top EU jobs looms
  2. EU advisor roasted over Russian media interview
  3. EU must counter Kushner's so-called 'peace' plan
  4. Tusk wants quick deal on EU top jobs at Thursday summit
  5. EU keeps North Macedonia and Albania at arm's length
  6. What's going on in Moldova - and what next?
  7. EU officials prepare for US extravaganza on Palestine
  8. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us