Right-Wing EU States Rebel Against New Pact Forcing Them To Accept Migrants From Middle East, Africa

‘We will not pay for anything, we will not have to accept any migrants,’ the prime minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, says.

Hellenic Coast Guard via AP
Scores of people on a battered fishing boat that later capsized and sank off southern Greece on June 14, 2023. Hellenic Coast Guard via AP

Right-wing European Union members are rebelling against a migrant pact the bloc agreed to Tuesday, which they say does not go far enough to stop migration into the continent from the Middle East and Africa. 

Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia voted against the pact, which involves a “solidarity mechanism” that would require member states to accept relocated migrants from states on the frontlines of immigration. Nations must also pay 20,000 Euros for each migrant they do not accept or negotiate some other form of support for the frontline country in question.

“We will not pay for anything, we will not have to accept any migrants,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after the vote. “The EU will not impose any migrant quotas on us.”

The pact “does not take into account the specific situation of countries bordering, for example, Belarus, countries that are facing the growing pressure of the so-called hybrid war,” finance minister Andrzej Domański, who represented Poland in the vote, said Tuesday. He referenced the crisis Poland faces on its border with Belarus, where tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have tried to cross into the bloc. 

So far this year, more than 46,000 people have entered the European Union outside of regular border crossings, the United Nations reports. The war in Ukraine has intensified migration flows. Of the 4.2 million non-EU refugees who have fled Ukraine, Poland is home to 955,520, the second highest number in the EU after Germany, according to Eurostat data from March.

The Czech Republic chose to abstain from voting on the majority of elements in the new legislation, and Austria voted against a section on managing crisis situations. Yet the pact is moving forward, since only a qualified majority of member states were required to support it. The European Commission will present an implementation plan next month. Member states will submit their own national plans by January, which they have two years to implement.

Since Mr. Tusk came into power in December, he has made clear his opposition toward Poland accepting migrants under the EU’s proposed system of migrant relocation. A week after his center-right Civic Platform was sworn in, though, the new legislation was provisionally approved by EU member states.

Poland’s former prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, criticized Mr. Tusk for failing to block the legislation, which he said on Tuesday will force Poland to “take in illegal immigrants or pay millions in fines.” 

Mr. Morawiecki’s national-conservative Law and Justice Party filed complaints with the Court of Justice of the European Union against four of the pact’s provisions, which Mr. Tusk’s more liberal government withdrew. “In the regulations of the migration pact that we are blocking, he failed to change even a comma. He simply agreed to the dictate,” Mr. Morawiecki wrote on X. 

The revolt of right-leaning EU leaders against the impending migrant relocations could soon show up in the polls. Between June 6 and 9, more than 330 million Europeans from 27 countries in the bloc will have a chance to vote on their 720 representatives in the European Parliament, the directly elected institution of the alliance. 

A coalition of conservative groups, the European People’s Party, is poised to maintain its lead in Parliament. Nationalist right and far-right members could gain control over a quarter of the seats, polls are predicting, from the 17 percent they control today.

The New York Sun

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