Poland rejects EU migrant reallocation law

Poland's PM Donald Tusk takes his seat during a round table meeting at an EU Summit in Brussels, March 22, 2024. (Photo/AP Archive)

Poland refuses to accept new EU rules allowing for relocation of migrants within the bloc, its prime minister has said.

"We will find ways that even if the migration pact comes into force in more or less unchanged form, we will protect Poland against this relocation mechanism," Donald Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

Tusk underlined that Poland has already taken in around 1 million Ukrainian refugees. Tusk, whose governing coalition suffered a setback in Sunday's local elections and is facing internal tensions, is maintaining Poland's hardline position that his predecessors adopted on migration.

Major changes to the EU's migration laws were passed earlier on Wednesday by the European Parliament after eight years of deadlock. The new legislation is designed to tighten border management and asylum processes.

The reform requires EU countries to take in asylum seekers from "frontline" states, such as Italy and Greece, or they provide money or other resources to these under-pressure nations.

Under current EU rules, countries of arrival bear responsibility for hosting and vetting asylum seekers, as well as for returning those deemed inadmissible. The new rules will come into force in 2026, after the European Commission sets out how it will be implemented.

Poland's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which lost elections last fall, has been critical of the reforms. The French and Spanish far-right parties Rassemblement National and Vox, as well as the PiS and Viktor Orban's Fidesz party in Hungary, voted against parts of the asylum and migration pact, saying it was "a license for people-smugglers and a setback to member states' sovereignty."

Supporters of the laws say it will fast-track asylum procedures at the EU's border, impose new screening systems and return people who do not qualify for international protection to their home countries. "It's a balance between solidarity and responsibility. This is the European way," said Roberta Metsola, the European parliament president, on Wednesday.

Eve Geddie, the head of Amnesty International's European institutions office and director of advocacy, called it a "failure to show global leadership."

"After years of negotiations, EU institutions are now shamefully co-signing an agreement that they know will lead to greater human suffering. For people escaping conflict, persecution or economic insecurity these reforms will mean less protection and a greater risk of facing human rights violations across Europe — including illegal and violent pushbacks, arbitrary detention and discriminatory policing," he said.

Members of the European Parliament on the left and the Greens criticised the bill for failing to prioritise guarantees for human rights.

The "migration pact" will now be passed on to member states in the council, who are slated to vote on April 29 on the matter via a qualified majority.


Source: TRT