Poland vetoes European Commission refugee plan
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland was among several central and eastern European countries to veto a European Commission emergency plan in Brussels on Monday to relocate 120,000 refugees.
Refugees demonstrate near the European institutions headquarters during a special European Justice and Home affairs ministers council meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, 14 September 2015. EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
Besides fellow Visegrad Group countries the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, opposition to the plan was also voiced by Romania, with the strained talks running into the night.
“We believe that these matters should not be based on automatic obligations,” commented Poland's deputy interior minister Piotr Stachańczyk.
While confirming that there was “no agreement”, he noted that discussion has not closed on the matter, with another meeting of EU ministers scheduled for 8 October, adding that this may in fact be held earlier.
Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn, who presided over the Brussels meeting, said that “we were hoping for something stronger".
He added that “time is of the essence” and that “a common problem requires a common solution.”
On Wednesday 9 September, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker called for the EU to show 'solidarity' in accepting new proposals for the distribution of the refugees, taking in 120,000 in addition to 40,000 already agreed.
The Polish government pledged in July to take in 2,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea, but Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz is noncommital on upping the quotas.
Meanwhile, Germany's decision to reimpose border controls this week, having initially led the way in welcoming refugees, has prompted other countries, including Austria, to follow suit, bringing the Schengen Agreement of borderless travel into jeopardy. (nh/di/rk)