Polish FM says punishment over migration problem 'not possible'
PR dla Zagranicy
It is not possible to punish Poland for not accepting migrants, Poland's foreign minister has said following an article in Britain's The Time's daily which suggested the country would face political and financial consequences.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: EPA/Patrick Seeger.
“I do not see how it will be possible to punish Poland for anything because the migration problem … is not connected to structural funds,” Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said.
A diplomatic source told The Times that should the European Court of Justice this year find the EU's migrant relocation scheme to be legal – as predicted by experts – Poland will face political and financial consequences.
Poland has not accepted any migrants from the Middle East and Africa through an EU programme to relocate some 160,000 asylum seekers currently residing in camps in Italy and Greece.
The source told the British daily: “They will have to make a choice: are they in the European system or not? You cannot blackmail the EU, unity has a price.”
But Waszczykowski said structural funds given to Poland in a bid equalise the economies of EU members have "nothing in common with the refugees, migrants issue”.
He added that migrants and asylum seekers were not only from the Middle East and Africa and that Poland issued nearly 1.3 million work and residency permits to Ukrainians last year.
“That closes the discussion,” Waszczykowski said, adding that “Poland is also a country that is vulnerable to a huge wave of migration”.
The Times also said that “Germany, France and up to 21 other countries” are set to issue the ultimatum to Hungary and Poland in 2017 demanding that the two countries “accept their quota of migrants or get out of the EU”.
Poland was in 2015 obliged to accept some 6,000 migrants from camps in countries along the Mediterranean coast by September 2017.
In March, Europe's migration commissioner said the EU had “the tools, the means and the power” to impose mandatory quotas on the bloc's members. (vb/pk)