Kaczynski says 'no' to EU's migrant relocation proposal

Piotr Polak/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS), has said Poland will not accept the EU's latest migrant relocation proposal.

The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday presented its new proposal aimed to help southern members of the EU deal with the migration problem. According to the scheme, EU member states will have to accept a quota of migrants from such countries as Italy or Greece or pay EUR 22,000 per migrant they refuse to take in.

But Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who on Saturday visited the Polish-Belarusian border and the recently-erected fence built to stem an inflow of Middle Eastern and African migrants from Belarus, said that the PiS government was firmly against the idea.

"I would like to stress that our government will never agree to that," Kaczynski said. "We didn't agree years ago and we won't agree now."

Preventing migration to Poland is high on the Law and Justice agenda ahead of the general election which will take place this autumn.

"We will defend our right to be the host in our own country," Kaczynski continued. "The thing is for Poles to be able to decide on their own how their country should look like and how their security should look like.

Poland's prime minister and the interior minister also ruled out agreement to the EC proposal soon after its announcement.

The EC's move has brought back the discussion on the relocation of migrants that started in 2015 in the wake of a migrant crisis in the EU. At that time, a group of countries, including Poland, refused to take part, spurring the EC to launch EU law infringement procedures against them.