Saturday

1st Oct 2016

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.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAEFA Supports a YES Vote in the Hungarian Referendum
  2. ACCAFinTech Boom Needs Strong Guidance to Navigate Regulatory Hurdles
  3. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  5. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  6. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  7. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  8. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  9. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  10. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  11. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  12. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List