EU to consider Poland's migration burden

EU to consider Poland's migration burden

Poland is currently hosting 1M Ukrainian refugees, says EU Commission spokeswoman

By Selen Temizer

BRUSSELS (AA) - Poland can be exempted from the mandatory solidarity measures due to its migratory burden, an EU spokeswoman said.

"We have seen through the latest attempts of instrumentalization that any Member State, including Poland, can be faced with the challenges of irregular migration. Irregular migration is not just a challenge for Member States in the South," Anitta Hipper, EU Commission spokesperson on home affairs, migration and internal security, told Anadolu, after Poland decided to hold a referendum on migration issues.

Hipper stressed that "it is important that migration is managed in a coordinated way."

"As regards the issue of solidarity, this should not be confused with mandatory relocation: at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June – EU Member States have agreed on a general approach in the framework of the Asylum Migration Management Regulation (AMMR)."

She added that relocation is not mandatory and that the council "foresees a mandatory but flexible solidarity mechanism," including "financial and alternative solidarity measures (e.g. operational or technical support, capacity building)."

Hipper recalled that Poland is currently hosting one million Ukrainian refugees, which "could be a reason not to be part of the mandatory solidarity."

"Poland would be considered under pressure and thus be eligible for solidarity or for a full reduction of its solidarity contributions," she said. "The position of the Council is now subject to negotiations with the European Parliament."

- Poland's stance on migration

The EU has been seeking solutions to the migratory issues since 2015, including the distribution of asylum seekers in the member states and the expulsion of those rejected.

The draft regulation prepared by the EU Commission could not be adopted due to stance differences among the member countries.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced last week that the referendum due on the same day as parliamentary elections on Oct. 15, will also concern the EU's relocation of immigrants.

The lower house of the Polish parliament on Thursday adopted the bill allowing a referendum on the same day as the elections. The bill will now go to the legislative committee, according to the state-run PAP news agency.

“Do you support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, according to the forced relocation mechanism imposed by the European bureaucracy?” Polish citizens will be asked.

Poland's ruling party has since 2015 made combating EU immigration policies a key plank of its appeal to Polish voters.

*Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara

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