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Opinion

Opinion: Bear with Poland

The Brussels attackers have done right-wing populists in Europe a favor. Poland, for example, is greatly reducing its intake of refugees. DW's Bartosz Dudek asks for forbearance with its policy.

First, the Polish minister of justice and public prosecutor, General Zbigniew Ziobro, spoke up and said it was clear that the responsibility for the attacks lay with the Constitutional Court of Belgium. The court had, he said, stopped key government legislation that would have granted the police important new powers.

In light of the fact that the Polish Constitutional Court has been crippled, that sounds plausible. Prime Minister Beata Szydlo promptly went one better. She stated that given recent developments, Poland felt itself unable to take in 11,000 refugees as promised by the previous government. The media are even speculating on whether it would be better to cancel Catholic World Youth Day in Krakow with Pope Francis this summer.

A victory for the murderers

This means that the Brussels killers have won a political victory. Not many days ago, Europe came together and united at the lowest common denominator in the EU-Turkey Agreement. Now, the continent is allowing itself to be frightened and divided again. The beneficiaries of this "success" can easily be identified. They are certainly not only Polish, German, French or British right-wing populists. A third delighted party is Vladimir Putin, who has long followed an old Roman principle in his politics: "Divide et impera" - "divide and rule."

Dudek Bartosz Kommentarbild App

DW's Bartosz Dudek

The Polish national conservative government can certainly be criticized for its lack of solidarity and its exploitation of the terrorist attacks to improve poll numbers. But those who want to name and shame Poland alone had better put their own house in order. Even Britain and France, countries that have much more experience in dealing with multicultural societies than Poland, are saying no to taking in refugees. They have good reason: The idea that the next resident of the Elysee Palace could be called Marine Le Pen is less far-fetched than one might have thought not so long ago. And Britain's EU membership is also touch and go. A few thousand refugees, who would not want to stay in Poland anyway, are actually a negligible factor.

That is why Germany and Europe would be well-advised to focus on the essentials, which means our security. As long as no human rights are violated, Europe should tactfully bear with Warsaw. "Change through rapprochement," dialogue and patience is the formula, in view of the knowledge that Poland has a strong civil society. The main problems in Europe today are not on the Vistula.

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