Poland claims EU refugee quota plan is 'dead'

Poland claims European Union’s plan to distribute 120,000 refugees across EU member countries is not feasible

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A child refugee looks at a police barricade as people push to open the Greek-Macedonian border at their makeshift camp in the northern border village of Idomeni, Greece, on April 7, 2016.

Poland cannot take in the 7,000 refugees it agreed to accept and thinks the plan to distribute 120,000 refugees across EU member countries is "dead", its deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Konrad Szymanski told the newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna that several of 28 European Union’s member countries would apply the quota system at a Brussels summit in late September over vehement objections from ex-communist east European states.

EU leaders agreed on a humanitarian deal last September to distribute 120,000 refugees among member states, while the first group of refugees to be sent to Poland were due to arrive late March or early April.

Poland’s previous government reluctantly approved of Poland’s assigned quota and the new conservative government which won a general election in late October, in which it initially agreed to respect it despite its criticism of the plan.

"I don't see a possibility to implement this decision and I can't see it happen also in most EU countries. This decision is dead," Szymanski said in the interview.

"It was not being implemented from the very beginning and nothing points to the fact that the majority of EU countries would implement it."

The flow of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, which rose to over a million last year, has slowed since the closing of borders along the Balkan route, but officials expect it to surge again with warmer weather.

Protesters shout slogans during anti-refugee rally in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland February 6, 2016 [Reuters].

After DAESH militants killed 130 people in Paris last November, Szymanski said Warsaw could not take in its quota of refugees without security guarantees.

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in January that Warsaw would respect the quota deal even though it regarded it as legally flawed.

Poland's refugee quota is small compared to larger EU countries but its new government is one of the loudest opponents of the plan.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the conservative eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party that heads the new government, said last year that refugees could bring diseases and parasites into Poland.

TRTWorld and agencies