Polish ministers hit out at EU plan on asylum seekers
PR dla Zagranicy
Senior Polish politicians have hit out at “senseless” European Commission proposals that could see EU member states face huge fines if they refuse to accept their share of asylum-seekers.
Mariusz Błaszczak. Photo: Flickr.com/Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji
Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said the proposed new system of distributing asylum seekers across the EU -- designed to ease the burden on frontline states like Greece and Italy -- could violate the rights of member states.
“This is senseless,” Błaszczak told the Polish public broadcaster’s TVP Info channel.
He said that similar ideas had been presented at the last meeting of EU interior ministers. "I on behalf of Poland stated unequivocally that these proposals are unacceptable," Błaszczak added.
At a press conference following a meeting of foreign ministers from Visegrad Group countries in Prague, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the latest proposal sounded like an April Fool's Day joke.
Waszczykowski added that he had been left wondering whether the European Commission plan is "a cruel joke, or whether it is serious."
Government spokesman Rafał Bochenek said no country should have refugee quotas imposed on it.
"A permanent mechanism for the relocation of refugees between member states is a bad mechanism and generates unnecessary controversy among the member countries," he added.
Under the new proposals, if a given country is inundated with over 150 percent of what is deemed to be its annual fair share of asylum-seekers, a mechanism would kick in obliging other states to take in a proportion of the new arrivals.
The European Commission proposal would allow EU countries to “buy” themselves out from the obligation to accept refugees: they would have to pay EUR 250,000 for every person they turned down.
The plans would require support from most EU member states as well as the European Parliament in order to kick in.
The Polish government has wavered on the issue of taking in asylum-seekers in recent months, on one occasion stating that the intake of refugees would be stalled, and later indicating the process was open again. (pk)