Poland refuses to take a single refugee because of 'security' fears

Poland has accepted less asylum-seekers per capita than almost any other European nation

Matt Broomfield
Monday 09 May 2016 16:08
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An anti-immigrant protest in Wroclaw, Poland
An anti-immigrant protest in Wroclaw, Poland

Poland will not be accepting a single refugee "because there is no mechanism that would ensure safety", the most powerful politician in the country has said.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. PiS takes a nationalist, right-wing stance on most issues, vocally opposing EU plans to house and feed refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and other humanitarian crises.

In a political broadcast published on YouTube, he said: “After recent events connected with acts of terror, [Poland] will not accept refugees because there is no mechanism that would ensure security."

The European Union has recently suggested that countries should be asked to accept a quota of refugees, or pay €250,000 (£200,000) for each asylum-seeker they turn away.

The money raised would be given to countries such as Greece, Germany and Italy who are currently housing a disproportionately high number of refugees.

But Mr Kaczynski also spoke out in opposition to these plans, which would see Poland asked to meet a quota of 6500 refugees or provide over €1.6bn (£1.25bn) in support for the humanitarian effort.

"Such a decision would abolish the sovereignty of EU member states – of course, the weaker ones," he said. "We don’t agree to that, we have to oppose that, because we are and we will be in charge in our own country,”

Poland: Thousands march in support of refugees in Warsaw

Since taking control of the Polish government in 2015, the autocratic PiS has seized control of state media and the civil service, as well as passing a law to cripple the Polish supreme court by landing it with an unworkable caseload.

In 2015, Mr Kaczynski claimed that refugees were bringing “various parasites and protozoa” to Europe, including dystentry and cholera. PiS were elected on a vehemently anti-refugee and Eurosceptic platform.

With a population of nearly 40,000,000, Poland has a lower quota than other large European nations, though it is also a relatively poor country.

Last year, Eurostat found Poland accepted just 0.21 asylum-seekers per 1000 citizens, compared to 0.5 per thousand in the United Kingdom or 8.43 in Sweden.

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