Polish Lawmakers Back National Referendum on Mass Migration

TOPSHOT - Poland's servicemen stand behind a barbed wire fence on the Belarusian-Polish bo

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s lawmakers on Friday approved law amendments that open the way for a national referendum on accepting migrants to be held in conjunction with the country’s general election, which is expected this fall.

Poland’s conservative government has vetoed the European Union’s plans to share out responsibility for migrants entering Europe without authorization, which is intended to ease the situation in front-line countries, and is planning a national referendum on the issue.

The opposition says the referendum is a political ploy by which Poland’s ruling party wants to boost its results in the election.

The amendments were approved in parliament on Friday in a 243-209 vote, with one abstention.

The amendments allow for the referendum be held on the day of the parliamentary election, which is expected to produce an increased turnout for both votes.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday that his Cabinet is planning to hold a one-sentence referendum on accepting migrants on election day. The date for the parliamentary election hasn’t been announced, but it’s expected to be in mid-October.

The amendments still need the approval from the Senate and President Andrzej Duda.

Poland and Hungary last week vetoed a statement by EU leaders on priorities for limiting arrivals, and the two countries voted against a June 8 agreement that balanced the obligations of front-line countries against the requirement for other member nations to provide support.

Poland argues it has taken in millions of war refugees from Ukraine – about 1.2 million have registered for temporary residence – and can’t accept any of the migrants who cross into Europe without authorization.

Poland is calling for migrants to be stopped before they reach EU borders.

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