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Polish PM calls for better control of EU borders at Brussels summit

30.06.2023 20:30
Poland's prime minister has said his country is against forced relocation of migrants between European Union countries and calls for more effective control of the bloc’s external borders.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki holds a news conference in Brussels on Friday, June 30, 2023.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki holds a news conference in Brussels on Friday, June 30, 2023.PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Mateusz Morawiecki made the remarks after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Friday.

The Polish prime minister told a media briefing in the Belgian capital that the two-day get-together of EU leaders had focused on “issues of security, stability and peace.”

Summit participants also discussed the EU’s new migration and asylum deal, Polish state news agency PAP reported.  

Security at our borders, security inside our countries

Morawiecki told reporters: “Security at our borders and security inside our countries, peace and public order. These are the values that make everything else possible, values that make it possible to carry out business activity, values that make possible a normal social life.”

He stated: “Poland’s position remains unchanged. EU borders can be opened only after our basic security needs have been addressed.” 

He added that this stance had been enshrined in the conclusions of the EU summit in June 2018 and this bloc-wide consensus remained “binding for all institutions.”

Morawiecki told reporters that the 2018 document "recognised the need to ensure effective control of the EU's external borders, with the Union's financial and material support.”

It also provided for “voluntary relocation and resettlement” of migrants among EU countries, according to Morawiecki.

The prime minister said that, "in line with the 2018 consensus," Poland was pushing for measures to increase border security and strengthen the EU's border protection agency Frontex to combat people smugglers and illegal migration.  

'If we open borders, illegal migrants will just pour in'

The Polish prime minister also told reporters that French President Emmanuel Macron had to leave the Brussels summit early due to ongoing riots in his country, after police shot dead a teenager of Algerian descent in a Paris suburb.

He said rioters were “looting shops, setting police cars on fire and building barricades in the streets.”

Morawiecki added: “Is this the scenario that we would like to see play out in Poland? Is this what Polish people want?”

He stated: “I believe that the Polish people, all of them, would say no.”

The Polish prime minister warned: “if we don’t address the causes of illegal migration at the source, we’ll face wave after wave of migrants. If we open borders, illegal migrants will just pour in, which is already happening in France and Sweden.”

EU plan means forced relocation of migrants: Polish PM

Morawiecki rejected a statement by the EU’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, that the bloc’s proposed new migration and asylum deal “does not entail mandatory relocation” of migrants.

Johansson has told Polish private broadcaster TVN24 that EU member countries could opt for “other forms of solidarity” with fellow EU states, rather than admitting relocated migrants, such as making a financial contribution, the PAP news agency reported.

The Polish prime minister commented: “Ladies and gentlemen, if a member state has to pay a fine of EUR 22,000 for every migrant it refuses to admit, then relocation is in fact mandatory.”

Morawiecki said he had asked EU leaders to state in the summit’s conclusions that the relocation of migrants "would be not mandatory, but voluntary.”

He stated: “There was no agreement on this, and so Poland didn’t agree to the proposed conclusions on migration policy.”

Due to a lack of agreement among member states, the summit’s conclusions do not cover migration policy, European Council President Charles Michel told reporters on Friday afternoon, the wpolityce.pl website reported.

EU countries agree new migration deal

On June 8, EU interior ministers reached an agreement on a plan to overhaul the bloc’s asylum and migration procedures, the PAP news agency reported. 

Poland and Hungary voted against the new asylum and migration package, according to news reports at the time.

The plan will form “the basis for negotiations” between the Swedish presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, officials said.

Under the proposed migration package, EU countries would be bound by “mandatory solidarity” in migration policy, while having flexibility “as regards the choice of the individual contributions,” from admitting relocated migrants to making financial contributions, the PAP news agency reported.

The EU would commit to at least 30,000 relocations per year “from member states where most persons enter the EU to member states less exposed to such arrivals,” officials said.

Meanwhile, financial contributions from member states would be fixed at EUR 20,000 per relocation at a minimum, according to the Polish state news agency.

“These figures can be increased where necessary and situations where no need for solidarity is foreseen in a given year will also be taken into account,” the European Commission said.

The plan effectively means that each EU country would have “a choice between admitting relocated migrants or making a financial contribution for every migrant it refuses to admit,” the PAP news agency reported, citing a high-ranking EU diplomat who it said took part in the negotiations. 

On June 15, Polish lawmakers adopted a declaration against the EU’s proposed new migration package.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Friday is day 492 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, wpolityce.pl, consilium.europa.eu