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Polish PM says Europe faces ‘invasion’ of illegal migrants

14.09.2023 23:30
Europe is facing an “invasion” of illegal migrants, as shown by events on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Polish prime minister has said, adding that his government is "determined to not let this happen in Poland."
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Thursday, September 14, 2023.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks to reporters in Warsaw on Thursday, September 14, 2023.PAP/Rafał Guz

Mateusz Morawiecki made the statement in a video posted on the X social media platform on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Polish prime minister said that “the eyes of the entire Europe” were on Lampedusa, where 8,000 illegal immigrants had arrived in boats over two days, “outstripping the population of the island.”

He added: “Fear, chaos, riots, vandalisation of cities. This is what Western Europe looks like today. We don’t want this sort of thing in Poland.”

Morawiecki said Europe was undergoing a “massive invasion” of immigrants from Africa due to the “disastrous policy” of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, "among others." 

He argued that Poland’s opposition leader Donald Tusk, as prime minister in 2007-2014, “sought to admit as many illegal immigrants to Poland as Germany would say.”

The prime minister urged viewers "not to let Tusk return to power" in parliamentary elections on October 15, as the opposition leader "would pursue the same migration policy as before." 

Meanwhile, Dominik Tarczyński, a member of the European Parliament with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), said that events in Lampedusa and “in many places in Europe” represented “an invasion.”

In an interview with public broadcaster Polish Radio, Tarczyński said the Polish government had a “clear policy” of “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration. 

Law and Justice spokesman Rafał Bochenek told Polish Radio that Europe had been “under strong migrant pressure” for about a dozen days.

He added that the European Union’s proposed new migration policy, including “mandatory relocation” of migrants between member states, “carries social and economic costs for EU countries,” and is opposed by Poland, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported. 

Meanwhile, Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek said on Thursday that due to the influx of migrants, Western European countries such as Belgium, Germany and France, had much higher levels of assaults, thefts and rapes than Poland.

Czarnek urged Polish people to vote in a nationwide referendum on issues including illegal migration, scheduled for October 15 together with the parliamentary elections, the IAR news agency reported.

Lampedusa Mayor Filippo Mannino said on Thursday: "In the past 48 hours, around 7,000 people have arrived in Lampedusa, which has always welcomed them with open arms.”

The island normally has a population of just over 6,000, the Reuters news agency reported.

Speaking in an interview with Italy's RTL 102.5 radio, the mayor added: "However, we have now reached a point of no return and the island is in crisis. Europe and the Italian state must step in immediately with a rapid support operation and swift transfer of people."

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday called for an “international programme of economic and financial assistance to Africa that will eliminate the causes of mass migration,” IAR reported. 

The EU’s executive Commission said it was in touch with the Italian government to discuss the possibility of offering more help for Lampedusa, according to Reuters.

"We stand ready to support Italy and this is what we are doing," a Commission spokesperson said.

Lampedusa sits in the Mediterranean between Tunisia, Malta and the larger Italian island of Sicily and is a first port of call for many migrants seeking to reach the European Union, Reuters reported.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters