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Former Polish president Wałęsa will house refugees if wife agrees

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 07.09.2015 11:45
Former Polish president Lech Wałęsa has spoken out in support of providing asylum to refugees, even in his own home, with Poles remaining deeply divided on the matter.
Foto: EPA/Nake BatevFoto: EPA/Nake Batev

“If these people are fleeing to save their lives, then we must accept them,” Wałesa told Poland's TVN24 news channel.

Referring to Pope Francis's call for every Catholic parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family, Wałęsa said that “some parishes are richer, and some are poorer, but we should do the maximum at least to understand these people and to save them.

I will have to agree this with my wife, but I am for taking them in, even to my own home,” he said.

The government pledged in July to take 2,000 Syrians and Eritreans over a two-year period. These take in 900 people from camps in Lebanon, and 1,100 from camps in Italy and Greece.

This figure is 1,500 less than the EU initially wanted Poland to take, with the civil war in Syria showing no sign of abating.

Following a Government Crisis Management Team meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said that for the time being, the government is focusing on providing for the 2,000 refugees that it has already agreed to accept, and that “no decision would be taken that would destabilise our lives.”

The issue has become especially volatile as a general election is to be held on 25 October, and Poland's political parties are nervous about appearing out of step with public opinion on the matter.

A recent survey indicated that 37 percent of Poles would support the aslum process, but only if the EU or the UN covered all costs. (nh)

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