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Wałęsa makes U-turn over Polish asylum for refugees

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 21.09.2015 08:50
Former president of Poland Lech Wałęsa appears to have radically altered his views on providing asylum for refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

Earlier this month, Wałęsa said he was even prepared to house refugees under his own roof, but in a newly published interview for The Jerusalem Post, he expressed a markedly different opinion.

We in Poland have small flats, low salaries and meagre pensions,” he reflected.

Watching the refugees on television, I noticed that they look better than us.

They are well fed, well dressed and maybe even are richer than we are.”

He also claimed that “if Europe opens its gates, soon millions will come through and while living among us will start exercising their own customs, including beheading.”

The former leader of Eastern Europe's first free trade union Solidarity said he himself declined to become a refugee from communist-ruled Poland during the 1980s, and “stayed on to fight for what I believe in.”

While acknowledging that some asylum seekers genuinely fear for their lives, Wałęsa said that many were actually looking for more favourable economic conditions.

My advice is that we – mainly the rich nations, like Germany – help them financially to create jobs, for example, in their countries of origin,” he said.

Poland initially pledged in July to take in 2,000 people from Syria and Eritrea.

However, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz is currently in negotiations about a larger quota of refugees, following an appeal to EU member states by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker on 9 September. (nh/rk)

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