Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło has said the nation will resist “blackmail” from the European Union over forced asylum seeker redistribution and continue with its “sensible” migration policy.
“Poland will continue a prudent and reasonable immigration policy; I am resistant to blackmail and pressure, which are used by, among others, Brussels,” Prime Minister Szydło told a press conference on Wednesday.
“Since we took power in Poland, the government under my direction has made it clear that we will not accept such a solution because we recognise it as a bad thing, especially for Europe,” Ms. Szydło added.
The Central European premier made the comments following Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski stating it would not be possible for the bloc to financially punish Poland for rejecting asylum seekers under the EU’s migrant policy.
“…the refugee problem, the problem of immigration, is not connected to structural funds,” the head of Polish diplomacy said Tuesday.
Mr. Waszczykowski was reacting to threats made by an unnamed senior diplomatic source from the supranational bloc that should Poland and Hungary not accept the migrants, they would face financial and political “consequences”.
At the EU summit on the migrant crisis in September 2015, Poland’s previous coalition government led by Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) agreed to accept 4,500-5,000 asylum seekers.
However, the following month the Eurosceptic, conservative Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) swept the parliamentary election and became the first party in the post-1989 era to win a mandate to govern the country unilaterally. PiS proceeded to reject the previous government’s migrant position, the move backed largely by the Polish people.
Figures within the EU have said that they want to fine members €250,000 for every migrant they refuse to receive, with left wing Swedish Member of the European Parliament Cecilia Wikström proposing to withhold funds instead.
One of the Polish government’s reservations over accepting thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa are grounded in national security concerns. Having witnessed crime, mass rapes, civil unrest, and terrorism committed by asylum seekers in France, Germany, and Belgium since 2015, Central Europe is keen not to repeat the mistakes of Western Europe which opened their doors to migrants.
“I hear in Europe very often: do not connect the migration policy with terrorism, but it is impossible not to connect them,” Ms. Szydło told broadcaster TVN in March.
The EU has now said Poland must absorb 6,200 asylum seekers by September 2017, but to date has refused to accept any.