Poland's Tusk says no to freshly agreed EU migration deal

Poland's Tusk says no to freshly agreed EU migration deal
Prime Minister Donald Tusk (right) with EU counterparts French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and German Chancellor Olaf Schotz (centre). / bne IntelliNews
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw April 11, 2024

The EU's migration and asylum pact, a new set of rules of how member states will handle arrivals from outside the bloc, which was agreed earlier this week in the European Parliament, is unacceptable and Poland will not support it, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on April 10.

The pact’s main point of contention is the plan to make member states take in migrants under a so-called solidarity mechanism from countries that are overwhelmed by migration such as Italy or Greece. 

An alternative to accepting migrants is paying €20,000 per refused person or increased participation in operations to protect the EU’s external borders.

"In this form, it is unacceptable for Poland," Tusk told a press conference.

"We will find ways – because we have already worked it out in our heads – that even if this pact comes into force in more or less the same form as it was voted on in the European Parliament today, we will protect Poland against the relocation mechanism,” Tusk also said.

Taking over from the fiercely anti-immigrant government of Law and Justice (PiS), the Tusk government has adopted a similar stance, only with a slightly less aggressive rhetoric.

The government says that the EU must take care to tighten control of its borders in the first place to prevent cross-border movement rather than seek solutions once migrants are inside the EU.

"There is no migration policy without effective border control. On this issue, I will not budge, and I want to say that my [work] yields results and the capitals in Europe understand our arguments,” Tusk also said.

Poland’s eastern border was under increased pressure from migrants along its border with Belarus, which, Warsaw said, deliberately flew in migrants, pushing them to the Polish border to sow organisational and political chaos in “hybrid war” in 2021-2022.

At the same time, the PiS government is now accused by the incumbent administration of creating a corrupt system of granting visas to non-EU citizens that resulted in thousands of people being allowed into Poland.

Meanwhile, Slovakia also said it is going to reject the provisions of the migration deal.

“The [member] states should decide for themselves what form of aid they choose, without the mandate of a mandatory financial or material contribution,” the Slovak foreign ministry said in a statement on April 11.

“The Slovak Republic unequivocally rejects the new European migration and asylum policy, the so-called migration pact, which also includes the mandatory redistribution of illegal refugees,” the ministry also said.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban also backed Poland despite the new government in Warsaw distancing itself from the populist leader for his pro-Russian policies. "Hungary will never give in to the mass migration frenzy!” Orban posted on X.