Poland: EU refugee quotas "are ineffective and lack common sense"

The European Union cannot force its member states to take in fixed quotas of refugees, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said Monday.  

The EU has been trying to implement a contentious scheme for the redistribution of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states, but relocations have barely started amid strong opposition from Warsaw and others. 

"For us, compulsory relocations are ineffective and lack common sense," Waszczykowski said in Rome after meeting his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni.

The Polish minister, representing a conservative government which has criticized the relocations scheme along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, said his country would not be an attractive destination.

"Migrants go where there are jobs, and in Poland there are no favourable conditions," he said. "Even if they come from Germany to us, they would move back immediately because conditions there are much better."

Gentiloni did not repeat a threat made in recent weeks by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to punish Central and Eastern European nations for their perceived lack of solidarity on migration with a reduction in EU subsidies. 

The Italian minister said EU quota systems were "certainly a difficult choice, but in a certain sense inevitable," and said it was "unrealistic" to expect frontline countries like Greece and Italy to deal with migrant arrivals on their own.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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