Poland slams door on refugees
The Brussels terror attacks prompted Poland to rethink its already unenthusiastic position on accepting asylum seekers and stop resettlements.
“I say very clearly that I see no possibility at this time of immigrants coming to Poland,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło said on Wednesday.
Her predecessor Ewa Kopacz had agreed to take 7,000 asylum seekers of the 160,000 being allocated across the bloc, buckling under strong pressure from Germany and other EU countries.Kopacz and the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party were opposed to the decision, but agreed to honor it after taking power in October.The latest attacks have toughened Poland’s position.“Until procedures to verify the refugees are put in action, we cannot accept them,” Rafał Bochenek, a government spokesman, told reporters. “The priority of the government is the safety of Poles … We understand the previous government … signed commitments which bind our country. We cannot allow a situation in which events taking place in the countries of Western Europe are carried over to the territory of Poland.”That’s a decision that has strong support.A new opinion poll conducted for the Adam Smith Center, a think tank, found 64 percent of Poles want the country’s borders closed to refugees.The European Commission said it had no comment on the statements, but earlier Wednesday Dimitris Avramopoulos, the migration commissioner, stressed that the security and migrations crises “should not be confused.”“Those people who have arrived on our shores are precisely fleeing the same terror that has struck us, right here in the heart of Europe,” he said.But that’s not a sentiment that finds much traction in Poland or in the rest of Central Europe.Poland’s ally Hungary has led the way in strongly opposing Germany’s “open door” policy on refugees. Last week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán denounced the EU’s migration policy as an effort to destroy Europe.“We will not import crime, terrorism, homophobia and a brand of anti-Semitism that sets synagogues ablaze,” he said, according to Reuters. “There will be no outlaw districts, no riots and no gangs hunting for our wives and daughters.”Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico also made Muslim migration one of the main issues of the country’s recent parliamentary election campaign.None of Central Europe’s countries has seen much migration in recent decades, and the idea of allowing in large numbers of culturally dissimilar Muslims is deeply unpopular.