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Poland to stop accepting refugees

November 14, 2015

Poland's incoming government has announced it will no longer take in refugees due to the recent Paris attacks, calling for 'security guarantees.' Germany has warned against hastily linking Paris and the refugee crisis.

Protesters in Poland hold a banner reading 'Today, immigrants, tomorrow terrorists'
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Guz

Poland will no longer accept relocated refugees based on an EU distribution program, Poland's incoming conservative, Euroskeptic governmentannounced on Saturday. Due to Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, Poland's new government is now demanding security guarantees before taking in further refugees.

"The attacks mean the necessity of an even deeper revision of the European policy towards the migrant crisis," said Konrad Szymanski, Poland's rising European affairs minister, during a briefing on Saturday. "We'll accept (refugees only) if we have security guarantees. This is a key condition, and today a question mark has been put next to it all around Europe," added the incoming minister, without specifying what he meant by security guarantees.

Szymanski's comments on the right-wing nationalist website wpolityce.pl made clear that Poland's new government will not comply with the EU refugee relocation program.

Border controls

"The decisions by the EU Council that were criticized by us over the resettlement of refugees and migrants in all EU states are of a binding nature. However in the face of the tragic events in Paris, we see no political possibility of implementing them," he wrote on the site. "Poland must retain complete control of its borders, as well as its asylum and migration policy," Szymanski insisted on the site.

Witold Waszczykowski, Poland's rising foreign minister, voiced his concerns as well, saying Europe needed to "approach in a different fashion the Muslim community living in Europe which hates this continent and wishes to destroy it."

Poland's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party won an absolute majority during the October 25 election by running on a platform that included refusing to allow migrants to enter Poland. The new PiS government is set to be inaugurated on Monday.

Under the EU relocation plan, 160,000 refugees registered in countries like Greece and Italy are to be relocated throughout the 28-member state bloc. According to the plan, which was agreed to by Poland's outgoing center-right, pro-EU government, Poland was set to accept an additional 4,500 refugees, on top of the 2,000 it has already accepted.

Germany's 'urgent plea'

In response to rising right-wing reactions to the Paris attacks, Thomas de Maiziere, Germany's interior minister, cautioned against connecting the terror attacks in Paris to the record-breaking influx of refugees in Europe.

"I would like to make this urgent plea to avoid drawing such swift links to the situation surrounding refugees," Thomas de Maiziere said, noting that there have already been "appalling scales of attacks against asylum seekers and asylum seeker shelters."

Along with increasing police and border controls, the minister said that security forces will also keep a close watch on far-right extremists.

"Germany, too, remains firmly as ever in the firing line of international terrorism," he insisted.

Beata Szydlo, Poland's soon-to-be Prime Minister lit a candle at the French Institute in Krakow on Saturday. Szydlo refused to comment on the refugee issue, but added that she and her government will try to do anything "for the Polish nation to feel safe."

rs/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)