Monday

29th May 2017

Polish ministers seek British assurances for diaspora

  • Poles are now the largest minority in the UK. (Photo: Ben Sutherland)

Three Polish ministers are travelling to London on Monday (5 September) to seek reassurances regarding the safety of their citizens in the UK - including their right to stay once Britain leaves the EU.

Prime minister Beata Szydlo dispatched Witold Waszczykowski, Zbigniew Ziobro and Mariusz Blaszczak - ministers of foreign affairs, justice and interior - for a last-minute trip after two Polish men were attacked in the town of Harlow in Essex on Sunday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Another Polish emigre, Arkadiusz Jozwik, was killed in the town a week earlier. Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of beating him to death.

Sunday’s attack came only 12 hours after a vigil for Jozwik gathered hundreds of mourners.

Superintendent Trevor Roe of the Essex police said the two attacks were not linked.

He told the BBC the police considered the weekend attack as a potential hate crime and announced an increased number of visible policing patrols in Harlow to both reassure and protect the community.

Polish government spokesman Robert Sobczak said the two men attacked this weekend had already left the hospital.

The Polish ministerial delegation will seek a commitment from the British government to ensure the security of Poles in the UK, but also to discuss their post-Brexit future in the UK.

”We hope the British side will respond to our calls for an information campaign that Poles are an added value for British society and economy, rather than a burden,” Sobczak said.

”This is particularly important in the context of Brexit,” he added. ”We want to underline that Britain’s divorce with the EU cannot mean that Poles who live and work in the UK legally suffer.”

The UK’s statistics office (ONS) reported in late August that the number of Poles in the UK was reaching a million and that they had overtaken Indians as Britain’s largest minority.

The Polish diaspora has increased more than twentyfold since 2003, the year before Poland joined the EU.

Before the June EU referendum, the Leave campaign vowed to stem immigration from eastern European countries by introducing an Australian-style points system that screens applicants on the basis of factors like education and skills.

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who was a leading Leave campaigner, has already met his counterpart Witold Waszczykowski to discuss the future of Poles in the UK.

British prime minister Theresa May has been reluctant to reassure EU migrants on their rights, leading to accusations of using people as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations.

She contributed to the debate from China, where she attended the G20 summit, saying that a point-based system was difficult to manage.

"There is no single silver bullet that is the answer in terms of dealing with immigration,” she told reporters.

Poland’s PM Beata Szydlo will seek to speak to May once the latter is back from China.

UK’s Brexit minister David Davis will lay out the government’s vision of future EU ties before parliament on Monday.

It has been announced as a ”unique deal” with curbs on immigration while preserving a good deal for trade in goods and services.

Interview

Hate speech costs lives, EU warns

Hate speech, whether homophobic or islamophobic, can prompt violent crime, justice commissioner Vera Jourova has warned in the wake of the Orlando and Jo Cox killings.

British ministers take aim at EU migrants

UK ministers spoke of hiring “British citizens first” and of deporting “EU criminals” on the third day of a Tory party conference in Birmingham.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

May promises hard Brexit in Tory manifesto

In her party's platform ahead of the 8 June elections, the British prime minister has asked voters to let her negotiate Brexit without guaranteeing a final deal.

EU wants Brexit talks to start the day after UK vote

EU negotiator Michel Barnier urged negotiations to begin as soon as possible, while European Council chief Donald Tusk said the EU-27's red lines will be updated once talks can move on from the divorce to the future relationship.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Tories on manoeuvres, as Labour wakes from Brexit slumber

In Labour's programme for the June election, Jeremy Corbyn claims there will be no second EU referendum and promises a form of associate membership with the EU. For the moment, it’s as far as his party can go.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms