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Poland urges more support for Ukraine refugees at EU summit

30.06.2023 09:00
The Polish prime minister has called on the European Union’s executive Commission to allocate more funds for refugees from Ukraine in the bloc’s revised long-term budget for 2021-2027.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks to reporters in Brussels on Thursday, June 29, 2023.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talks to reporters in Brussels on Thursday, June 29, 2023. PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Mateusz Morawiecki made the proposal at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The Polish prime minister said that such a commitment to financial support for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion should be included in the summit’s conclusions, according to officials.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda told public broadcaster Polish Radio earlier this year that the country was home to an estimated 3 million Ukrainians, including those who arrived before the war.

The Polish presidential office said in March that around 1.3 million war refugees from Ukraine were staying in Poland after many who had fled Russia's invasion moved on to other countries or decided to return to Ukraine.

Poland calls for 'return to principle of consensus' on EU migration policy 

Morawiecki on Thursday also proposed a wording for the EU summit’s conclusions on migration, the PAP news agency reported.

In the proposal, the Polish prime minister called on the European Council to "return to the principle of consensus" in developing the EU’s new migration and asylum deal, "in line with the conclusions of the bloc’s summits in December 2016, June 2018 and June 2019," according to officials.

Specifically, Poland wants EU leaders to state in their conclusions that “the bloc’s migration and asylum policy should be based on the sovereign right of member states to shape their own migration policy and make their own decisions about whom to admit into their territory,” the PAP news agency reported.

Morawiecki proposed that “it should be left to member states and their citizens to decide how best to support countries affected by a massive influx of migrants.”

Poland also urged the European Council to confirm that the relocation and resettlement of migrants between EU member states would be based on “the principle of voluntary participation,” the PAP news agency reported. 

The Polish prime minister called on fellow EU leaders to emphasise the importance of preventive measures in migration policy, designed to ensure that migration flows contribute to the bloc’s development and prosperity, without exerting a negative impact on public order and the safety of EU citizens, according to officials.

Before heading to the EU summit, Morawiecki told reporters in Warsaw on Thursday that Poland would veto the European Union’s proposed new migration policy as it includes "mandatory relocation" of migrants among the bloc’s member states, and is ”a strategic mistake.”

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:IAR, PAP, consilium.europa.eu