The idea of introducing a mechanism of mandatory relocation of migrants is in fact a return to the discussion from 2015. It is amazing that despite the obvious failure of the open door policy advocated in the EU by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the time, as well as in the current circumstances of the war in Ukraine and the resulting refugee crisis, this idea is being revived with redoubled strength. The “compulsory solidarity” that the new pact wants to introduce has nothing to do with solidarity. It comes down to the de facto alternative of relocation or direct penalties financed in the amount of PLN 22,000. EUR for each unaccepted economic migrant who illegally crossed the EU border, and at the same time for one war refugee from Ukraine, fleeing from the hell that Putin’s regime gave them, Poland receives only EUR 45. It is a curious and scandalous differentiation of those who come to the EU, dividing them into “better” and “worse”. To sum up, the proposed mechanism is politically and pragmatically unacceptable for Poland. We will not agree to imposing absurd ideas on Brussels.

The decision of the interior ministers and the adopted – with the opposition of Poland and Hungary and the abstentions of Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia – the negotiating position on the reform of migration regulations in the EU, is another example of an attempt to circumvent the Treaties. On such an important issue, which undoubtedly is migration policy, the discussion should be transferred to the level of the European Council and should be discussed by the heads of state and government. Conclusions of the European Council of 2016 and 2018, stating the need to develop a consensus in this matter, also had such overtones.

There is no solidarity without unanimity, which Poland has emphasized from the very beginning, especially in the context of the fact that Poland is the country that effectively manages the biggest migration crisis after World War II. Meanwhile, we have another example of the destruction of EU standards, an example of which is the adoption of yesterday’s agreement by a simple majority of votes, in a formula that makes it impossible to use the right of veto. Also, the backstage of these negotiations raises many objections, because the final version – referred to as the compromise version – was submitted a few minutes before the vote and, as the Polish delegation emphasizes, there was no time to conduct a proper analysis.

Politically and pragmatically, the proposed mechanism of solidarity is unacceptable to Poland. Therefore, we will strive to ensure that further discussions on this topic are held in other forums, including during the European Council in June this year. The adopted position will be the basis of trilogues with the European Parliament, we will have to wait about two weeks for the final consolidated text. Nevertheless, there is already a real threat of imposing forced relocation on Member States, because this is what the proposed migration pact boils down to, giving an apparent choice between the relocation of migrants and financial equivalent in the event of a lack of willingness to accept them, so it is not a choice.

EU migration policy should be directed primarily at supporting refugees in their countries of origin, and not at forced relocation within the Community. After all, it is no secret that even if we accept illegal migrants, they will soon move to our western neighbors anyway. Therefore, we need a deep and well-thought-out reflection on the mechanisms of the EU migration policy, and not ad hoc ideas that do not serve the Member States and the EU as a whole, but are certainly in the hands of smuggling criminal groups that have turned illegal migration into an extremely profitable business.

Jadwiga Wiśniewska

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