Poland Hit by Waves of Refugee Flows Coming from Middle East

Poland Hit by Waves of Refugee Flows Coming from Middle East

The European Union failed on July 9 to reach a deal to resolve a migration crisis in the Mediterranean, and instead set a deadline for July 20 to find agreement on how to share out 40,000 asylum seekers currently in Italy and Greece. «We made progress but we are not there yet», Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner responsible for Migration, told reporters after a meeting of European interior ministers in Luxembourg. 

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, proposed in May to relocate 60,000 refugees over the next two years. Two-thirds of them would be sent from Italy and Greece to other EU states, while the remaining 20,000 would be resettled directly from their countries of origin or transit. Germany and France announced on July 9 that they would jointly take in more than 20,000 refugees in the next two years. 

Poland said it would take 2,000. Another ministerial meeting has been called for July 20 in Brussels to seek a definitive deal, Luxembourg Foreign and Immigration Minister Jean Asselborn told reporters. The European Union (EU) grants European resident status to non-EU nationals who have legally and continuously resided for a period of five years within the territory of an EU country. Deputy Foreign Minister Rafał Trzaskowski has gone public on a number of occasions to say that Poland will not let Brussels impose quotas. 

Instead the country will take an independent decision on the numbers of refugees it is ready to host. The Polish Foreign Ministry said that the problem required a rational approach. It refused to comply with the European Commission. About two months have passed since the statement and Warsaw gave in: a few days ago the first refugees - Christians from Iraq and Syria – came to the country. According to Polish media, the Christians from the Middle East have to shoulder the travel expenses till they reach the place of destination while Muslims are taken there gratuitously.

The Muslim League in Poland is a religious association operating in the territory of the Republic. According to media reports, it is subject to heavy influence of Muslim Brothers, an organization listed as terrorist in Russia. The group has recently built a mosque in Warsaw. Muslim Brothers can be among the refugees coming to the country. It is believed that the terrorist threat is low in Poland. No matter that, Marek Bernatsky, Chairman of the Special Services Committee in parliament and Coordinator for Intelligence Services, called on power agencies to be vigilant. 

It’s clear that Warsaw is not able to take independent decisions on immigration. The decision on July 20 deadlines were taken before the Polish government agreed to host two thousand asylum seekers. Now the EU will decide the fate of 20 thousand people who have already crossed the Mediterranean. It evokes indignation among the members of clerical conservative Law and Justice Party. They believe that President Bronisław Komorowski, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council (all are members of Civic Platform) disregard the interests of the country while dealing with the European Union.

Rich countries want to share the burden with “junior partners”. The Polish navy is included into the EU operation to fight illegal immigration in the Mediterranean, including patrolling the Libyan littoral zone. The Polish government paints its agreement to host the refuges from the Middle East as a gesture of good will. The Christians from Syria and Iraq are exterminated by Muslim radicals. They will be happy to go to any country and save their lives. 

But there are factors to be taken into consideration. First, we know the Warsaw’s consent to provide asylum to refugees was taken under the pressure from Brussels. Second, the Polish diplomacy vividly describes the humanitarian tragedy in the Middle East without making precise what caused it – the EU and US policy aimed at turning the region into the zone of managed chaos and doing away with the established regional security system. Third, by supporting Washington and Brussels in their efforts to topple the Syrian government Warsaw is indirectly responsible for the bloodshed the Middle East has plunged into.

At the same time Polish media discusses the fate of Poles in Donbass. Around half of 4 thousand Poles residing in the region have left it. Poland has agreed to host only 180 of them. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs says everyone willing was evacuated to be given an asylum. Now it came to the surface that the evacuation was too hasty. Some Poles eager to leave had no time to do it. It did not prevent the Foreign Ministry to say that it was a one-time action. Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz opposed the idea of bringing the Poles residing in the Donbass to Poland.