Poland’s former prime minister and current leader of the country’s ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to blame for the influx of asylum seekers seeking resettlement in the EU, adding, that she and her country will have to bear the consequences.
Kaczynski, who leads the Eurosceptic and conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, once again expressed his strong disapproval of the EU’s relocation scheme during an interview with broadcaster TVP Info on Saturday.
“We have not opened Europe for refugees – Ms Merkel has. And it is Ms. Merkel and Germany that have to bear the consequences, not Poland,” he told the Polish broadcaster, as cited by Reuters.
He reiterated his stance on Monday, telling the Codziennej newspaper that accepting a large number of foreigners would force Poland to change its culture and would radically reduce the nation’s level of security.
He said Warsaw must defend this position at the European Court of Justice, a move which both Hungary and Slovakia initiated during a hearing at Europe’s top court less than two weeks ago stating that they felt the quota is unlawful.
Meanwhile, the head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, Pavel Soloch, told broadcaster Rzeczpospolita Friday that it is extremely difficult to determine whether those fleeing to Europe represent a threat or are simply aiming for a better life.
Soloch’s comments came just a day after Poland refused to take in asylum seekers under the European Union’s relocation scheme despite the threat of legal action from the bloc.
Responding to the threat, Poland’s interior minister said accepting refugees under the relocation scheme would “certainly [be] much worse” than Brussels’ penalties for not doing so.
Under the plan, which was agreed in 2015, the European Commission stipulates that member states take in an assigned quota of the 160,000 asylum seekers stuck in Italy and Greece.
The scheme is expected to tally less than 40,000 relocated asylum seekers by its September deadline.
The Commission will decide next month on any “infringement” cases against nations which refuse to resettle asylum seekers.
Its decision could potentially lead to penalties for Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, all of which have refused to accept refugees. Brussels has also called out the Czech Republic saying it has not been active on relocation for a year.
More than 1.6 million asylum seekers stormed Europe between 2014 and 2016 leading to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
The influx led to Merkel implementing her so-called ‘open-door’ policy to those fleeing war and persecution. Merkel’s move has been widely criticized by conservative politicians across Europe.