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  • 23 February 2016

    "We are happy that in a few months, Slovakia will lead EU policy, as a close neighbour we will want to support this presidency. We will also take on the presidency of the Visegrad Group, which is why I believe that we could create certain political synergies (...) There is a lot of scope for co-operation here between Warsaw and Bratislava," Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in an interview with RTVS, the Slovakian public television channel.

    Evaluating last week's European Council summit in Brussels, Minister Waszczykowski said that it did not solve key problems. "The European Union is not able to differentiate between refugees and immigrants. Two types of people are coming to Europe: first there are refugees, who indeed come from conflict-ridden territories such as Libya, Syria and Northern Iraq. But the majority of people making their way to Europe are coming in search of a better life," the Polish Foreign Minister said. 



    Asked about previously agreed refugees quotas, Poland's head of diplomacy assured that Poland would "try to fulfill quotas agreed to by the previous government on the condition that there is interest in coming to Poland. Secondly, they will need to have documentation proving their identity and thirdly, we will need to have absolute certainty that they do not pose a security threat to Poland. If these three conditions are met then people will be able to apply to stay in Poland." He also pointed to the individuals coming to Poland from  Ukraine. "Most of the time these are people escaping poverty due to unemployment and not many people know that Poland is the main destination of Ukrainian migration," Minister Waszczykowski said. The Polish Foreign Minister also talked about the humanitarian assistance programme activated by Poland in December last year and he reminded that during the meeting of V4 foreign ministers in Prague on 18 February this year Poland proposed that the "Visegrad Group also undertakes such humanitarian efforts and starts helping refugees located in the territory of Syria, Lebanon or Jordan."


    Speaking of the current challenges facing European Union member states, Waszczykowski stressed that "although we have been members of NATO for many years, security in our part of Europe is still worse than that in Western Europe. As a result, Poland is trying to even out the level of security, so that we will be as safe in our part of Europe as our partners in Western Europe are. The path to increasing this security is the permanent presence of NATO troops on the territory of the eastern flank." He added that these measures would not be a provocation towards Russia, on the contrary: "The presence of defence installations on the territory of the eastern flank demonstrates the determination to defend and deter, deterring any incentives, any actions, which could lead to further change of borders or a decrease in security in our part of Europe," the Foreign Minister said.


    MFA Press Office



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