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Poland does not agree to ‘blackmail’ over refugees: Minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 12.06.2017 16:29
Poland does not agree to financial "blackmail" forcing it to accept refugees as part of a European Union programme, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has said.
Polish FM Witold Waszczykowski (C). Photo: Flickr.com/MSZPolish FM Witold Waszczykowski (C). Photo: Flickr.com/MSZ

The European Commission plans to commence legal action against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic over the countries’ refusal to take in their quote of refugees, the Reuters agency has reported.

Waszczykowski said on Monday: “We do not agree to such blackmail; with the notion that if you do not accept migrants, you do show solidarity, you will be financially punished … [European] funds and subsidies will be cut off,” Waszczykowski said.

Reuters said that on Tuesday the Commission will send so-called “letters of formal notice to Warsaw and Budapest”, with some sources adding that “Prague was also on the list”.

These kinds of letters mark the first step in the so-called “infringement procedures” which the Commission can open against EU member states for “failing to meet their legal obligations”, Reuters said.

The agency added that the legal procedures “mark a sharp political escalation of a dispute between the Commission and EU states”.

At a press conference on Monday, Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Błasczak said that punishing countries for not accepting refugees is “groundless”.

Poland has not accepted any refugees as part of a programme to relocate asylum seekers residing in camps in Italy and Greece.

The ruling Law and Justice party has voiced opposition to the EU redistribution plans. (rg)

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