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Forced relocation of refugees worse than EU penalties: minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 17.05.2017 09:53
Forcing Poland to accept migrants would be worse than the European Union imposing penalties, Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Wednesday.
Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: Polish RadioInterior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: Polish Radio

Błaszczak was asked by Polish Radio about Tuesday's statements by the European Union that Poland and Hungary have until June to start accepting refugees or face sanctions.

He said that the prospect of accepting refugees would “certainly be worse” than any penalties.

“Let us keep in mind what happened in Western Europe. Let us remember the terrorist attacks – [which] in principle, are a fact in the larger states of the European Union, unfortunately,” Błaszczak said.

“Let's remember that they started with relatively few Muslim communities, which are very numerous now [around Europe],” he added.

On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said that thanks to Poland's tough attitude towards refugees, “a critical attitude towards the mechanism of migrant relocation is becoming increasingly widespread in the European Union”.

“Poland cannot accept refugees,” she added.

In September 2015, EU leaders agreed that each country would accept a number of asylum seekers over two years to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy, which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East.

EU leaders agreed to relocate a total of about 100,000 refugees of more than two million people who arrived in Europe since 2015.

However, only 14,000 migrants from refugee camps in countries along the Mediterranean coast have been relocated in the EU. Poland, which had been assigned 6,200 refugees, has not taken in any of them.

According to the European Commission, only Austria, Poland and Hungary have not accepted any people from migrant camps in Italy and Greece, while Malta and Finland are the only countries to have fulfilled their obligations. (rg/pk)

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