Under the EU’s new migrant strategy, Poland would have to accept around 960 immigrants from outside the EU, as well as up to six percent of refugees who are already on EU turf.
Europe minister Rafał Trzaskowski has said that Poland is willing to help with the issue of the relocation of migrants, but underlined that any decision taken must lie in the hands of EU member states on a voluntary basis.
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has voiced that eastern EU members should step up to the plate in offering sanctuary for refugees, with Belgian migrant and asylum minister Theo Francken also pointing the finger at Central European EU members over the issue.
However, Trzaskowski said that at the last EU summit, government heads decided that countries should be able to decide on a voluntary basis on the relocation of immigrants, and as a result, Warsaw is surprised at the EC proposal which introduces a quota system.
“It is strange that the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has made this decision, which goes against what the government heads had agreed on [earlier],” Trzaskowski said.
The comments comes as on Wednesday the European Commission announced that will introduce what it has called a “temporary relocation mechanism for asylum-seekers”.
The EC will “define a redistribution key based on criteria such as GDP, size of population, unemployment rate and past numbers of asylum seekers and of resettled refugees,” it wrote in a statement.
While the project has been championed by a number of EU states, namely Germany and Italy, critical voices have been raised in Hungary, the UK and the Czech Republic.
The “European Agenda on Migration” is the EU’s response to a growing wave of immigrants coming from the bloc’s southern neighbourhood, often in tragic circumstances.
In April, the International Organization for Migration estimated that since the beginning of 2015, some 1,750 migrants have died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, over 30 times more than in the same period last year. Throughout 2014, 3,279 people died, although estimates point to around 30,000 this year. (jb)