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Polish referendum possible on refugees: deputy FM

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 19.05.2017 14:53
Poland could take the migration issue to a referendum if it feels forced into accepting refugees, Konrad Szymański, Poland's deputy foreign minister, has said.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Raimond Spekking.Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Raimond Spekking.

His comment came after the European Commission on Tuesday threatened to launch procedures against countries which do not accept any migrants by June, and in the wake of a non-binding resolution passed in the European Parliament on Thursday to speed up the process of resettling refugees.

A matter of security

Government spokesman Rafał Bochenek said that the migration question was a matter of security, which he added is non-negotiable.

He said that the migration strategy “legitimises people-smuggling by criminal organisations”.

He added that most European Union countries have not accepted the numbers of migrants allocated to them under a European Commission decision, adding that only ten percent of the target had been met.

Beata Kempa, head of the prime minister's office, said that Poland has given PLN 119 million (EUR 28 million) in relief and has helped to rebuild homes and schools.

She added that sanctions against Poland would be better than a threat to security.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the government would be willing to send aid where it is needed outside its borders to help “people affected by crisis to live in the most decent possible conditions”.

But “when I hear about some forced relocation of people, forced movement of people to Poland, I say decidedly 'no', because this is a plain violation of human rights”.

European agreement

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. 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.

The commission on Tuesday threatened to launch procedures against those countries if they do not start resettling refugees by June.

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a non-binding resolution, calling European Union member states to speed up the process of relocating refugees. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP

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