The right-wing Polish government is under pressure from the EU to finally begin accepting asylum seekers. Poland, along with Hungary, has refused to take in any refugees under a 2015 deal that was supposed to allocate 160,000 people among EU member countries in order to take the load off Greece and Italy.

Poland shrugged off any threats by saying. “In agreeing to take in refugees, the previous government put a ticking bomb under us,” Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told reporters in Brussels. “We’re defusing that bomb.”

Both Schetyna and former Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, who originally agreed to the EU deal, now says that Poland won’t accept any EU-mandated refugees and that Poland has to be in full control over who they accept.

What do Polish people say?

Opinion polls show that about three-quarters of Poles are against accepting refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

One argument for not letting in refugees…

Here is a map that shows by virtue of color-coded dots how many terrorist events have occurred in European Union countries. You get to Poland, there aren’t any dots. There isn’t any terrorism in Poland! In every other one of these countries, there are lots of dots representing lots of them.

What do the politicians say?

The reason given is that Muslim migrants could be a problem for Poland’s homogenous society. Kaczyński warns Poles that Poland “would have to completely change our culture and radically lower the level of safety in our country.”

He also said that Poland “would have to use some repression” to prevent “a wave of aggression, especially toward women” on the part of asylum seekers. He goes onto say that migrants carry “all sorts of parasites and protozoa, which … while not dangerous in the organisms of these people, could be dangerous here.”

Błaszczak warned that EU pressure on Poland to accept refugees “is a straight road to a social catastrophe, with the result that in a few years Warsaw could look like Brussels.”

What are the consequences?

Tusk has made it pretty clear he wants Poland to fall in line with the rest of the bloc and fulfill its obligations to accept asylum seekers. Even Austria has said it will start accepting refugees, leaving only Hungary and Poland resisting.

If the Polish government doesn’t take part, “it will come with inevitable consequences,” he warns. In plain English that means Poland could lose hundreds of millions of euros in funding. The government replied by suggesting holding a referendum over whether Poles would agree to accept refugees.

What does the church say?

While the government’s stance on refugees is popular with its base, it’s creating discomfort in parts of the hierarchy of the powerful Roman Catholic Church in Poland. “Not accepting refugees practically means resigning from being a Christian,” he said. “I’m ashamed of those who don’t want to do their duty not just as Christians but as human beings.”

What do the critics say?

Critics point out that Poles were massive beneficiaries of refugee policies in the past when thousands of people fleeing the military regime in the early 1980s were allowed to settle in Western Europe.

The final word

“The Polish government will not change its mind about the refugees. It’s a final decision,” Elżbieta Witek, chief of the prime minister’s cabinet office, told TVP, the state broadcaster. “I’m a Christian and a Catholic and I try to be a good person, and the Polish government acts in the same way … A good Christian is someone who helps, not necessarily by accepting refugees.”

This topic is possibly controversial but needs to be addressed. What do you think? Is zero tolerance to refugees a good thing or not?

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