• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • The decision of the European Commission to initiate proceedings against the Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for not taking in refugees is unjust, we see double standards here, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said on Wednesday. He announced that Poland would resist the decision.


    The European Commission formally launched a lawsuit against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary on Wednesday in connection with the "refusal of these states" to relocate refugees.


    European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein also announced that Poland has one month to respond to this decision, not two months, as is usually the case with infringement procedures.


    "We understand that the European Commission has procedures in place in order to take action when agreements between Member States made years ago are not realized and here in this case nothing extraordinary has happened,” Waszczykowsk said at a press conference on Wednesday after talks with his Italian counterpart, Angelino Alfano.


    He said that what is extraordinary “is that the Commission decided to select only three countries which – the Commission claims – are not implementing this agreement”.


    The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded that according to the September 2015 agreement, 160,000 people were due to be resettled and so far this was done in relation to only 20,000 people and the large majority, if not all, of EU countries have not lived up to their commitments.


    “We therefore see some injustice here, double standards, selecting only three countries and stigmatizing us,” the head of Polish diplomacy said.


    He said that Poland would "obviously defend itself, making the case why the EU decision is not applicable here", both the decision made in September 2015 and the one made on Wednesday.


    "The relocation – and this euphemism can be referred to in normal language as forceful resettlement – of 160,000 people to places they most often they do not want to be displaced to is a wrong concept which should not have been made back then and should not be implemented today,” Waszczykowski stressed.


    He also said that those chosen for relocation were inappropriately labelled as refugees because "most of them are migrants."


    "Here too we have a complaint directed at the Commission, that the Commission was wrong in its interpretation of the decision procedure," the minister said.


    He also pointed out that initiating the infringement proceedings against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary meant pressure on the EU Court of Justice, which is dealing with complaints of Slovakia and Hungary regarding a September 2015 resettlement decision, to "either accelerate its decision or make them in line with the Commission's expectations".


    The head of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also commented on the European Commission’s decision on Wednesday.


    He pointed out that infringement proceedings for violating member state agreements were also initiated against Italy "more than once".


    "There are ways to express ones reservations and the Polish government has done so," Alfano said.


    He said that the issue of migration was discussed extensively with Waszczykowski on Wednesday.


    "We have found some points of agreement on an overall strategy to be implemented in Africa, to stop those trafficking people and exploiting people in order to obtain criminal proceeds, but we have not reached an agreement on some issues, although that did not prevent us from having a very fruitful discussion,” he said.


    Journalists asked the ministers at a press conference whether there is a possibility that structural funds allocated to Poland would be restricted.  


    "There is no justification to link the issues of refugees, migrants and structural funds. The Structural Funds derive from the treaties, from the agreement we concluded with the EU, from the opening up of our market,” Waszczykowski pointed out.


    He added that Structural Funds are not "a reward for good behaviour but are an economic compensation for opening up the Polish market, for the opening up of weaker markets, to influential richer markets of older EU states", which, Waszczykowski said, "are making great gains from their access to our markets.”


    It is impossible to link this "strictly economic" issue with "any ideology or behaviour or other decisions in other fields," the head of Polish diplomacy said.


    Source: PAP


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