Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

Poland says No to migrants after Brussels attack

Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo has said the Brussels attacks mean that Poland cannot take part in the EU’s migrant relocation scheme.

"Twenty eight EU countries agreed to solve the issue through relocation. But I will say it very clearly: I do not see it possible to allow migrants in Poland at the moment," Szydlo told the Superstacja TV broadcaster on Wednesday (23 March).

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

  • Avramopoulos on Wednesday: "Those people who arrived on our shores are fleeing the same terror that struck in the heart of Europe" (Photo: European Commission)

She criticised German chancellor Angela Merkel for having “invited migrants to Europe.”

“This carefree attitude led to the problems that we have today,” she said.

“We cannot agree that thousands of migrants, who come to improve their lives, flow into Europe. There are also terrorists among them.”

Earlier on Wednesday, she told a meeting of NGO leaders at her chancellery in Warsaw that the Brussels attacks meant the EU had lost control of the migration crisis.

“Europe is incapable of dealing with this enormous crisis,” she said.

“When on Friday [18 March] the [EU] summit was coming to an end, European leaders went back to their capitals feeling that they had a good compromise, that they had found a solution to the crisis becaue they managed to conclude a deal with Turkey,” she said.

“A few days went by, and suddenly the terrorists made a joke out of the deal and showed Europe that further declarations, further documents, further hours-long talks don’t mean very much.”

Poland’s previous government had agreed to relocate up to 6,500 refugees from Greece and Italy in a mandatory quota system created by the European Commission.

Last week’s EU-Turkey deal is to see Turkey take back irregular migrants from Greece in return for EU states volunteering to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey on a one-for-one basis.

Face saver

An EU source told EUobserver that Warsaw is not expected to take formal steps against the relocation scheme.

“They’re hoping that it falls apart by itself and that they can take part in the resettlement project instead, allowing everybody to save face,” the source said.

“The fact is that even though central European states have spoken out against the quotas, it’s the large, older member states who are doing almost nothing to implement them. That’s where the real problem lies.”

Leaders in central Europe have been making the link between refugees and terrorists since last summer.

They highlighted the fact that some of the Paris attackers entered the EU on fake papers via Turkey and Greece.

Turkey has also said it found nine would-be suicide bombers in a group of 7,000 Syrians who crossed the border in February.

But the EU commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, on Wednesday in Brussels warned against “confusion” of the two issues.

“We are at the peak of two crises - security and migration - and while they overlap in timing they should not be confused. Those people who arrived on our shores are fleeing precisely the same terror that struck in the heart of Europe,” he said.

“To antagonise those seeking protection would be giving in to the hatred ... that terrorists try to sow,” he added.

Fear

Speaking to EUobserver in Prague before the Brussels attacks, Simon Panek, the head of People in Need, a Czech NGO, said people in central Europe “fear” migrants because few of them have ever met an Arab.

He said populist media and politicians reinforced the bad feeling.

People in Need works on the front lines of the Syrian war. Operating out of Turkey, it has spent €20 million on feeding 200,000 people deep inside Syria.

Panek said some NGOs have taken Syrian refugees to meet people in provincial Czech towns.

“When local people meet Syrian families and they hear their stories they’re open-minded and helpful,” he said.

“Fear is a very strong emotion,” he added. “You can destroy love in one day. But it’s much harder to deconstruct fear with rational debate.”

Smuggled migrants to leave Greece from Sunday onward

EU-Turkey accord to see rejected asylum applicants sent back to Turkey and an equal number of Syrian refugees to be resettled in the EU. Much will depend on Greece's capacity to deliver.

EU border agency highlights terrorist threat

Frontex, the EU border control agency, has called for more access to security data after warning that terrorists could use the migratory route to infiltrate Europe.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain calls for legal action against Italy on migrants
  2. Trump to meet Greenland leader in Denmark
  3. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU
  4. Polish deputy minister targeted judges in hate campaign
  5. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  6. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  7. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  8. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us