Sunday

20th Aug 2017

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides