Poland applies for over EUR 200 mln in EU funding for border defence

Wąsik said the government was seeking co-financing from the bloc's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Integrated Border Management Fund. Mateusz Marek/PAP

Poland is applying for more than EUR 200 million in EU funding to co-finance the construction of barriers on its border with Belarus as well as equipment for the Border Guard, a deputy interior minister told the Senate on Wednesday.

Maciej Wąsik was addressing the upper house as it considered a bill on securing the border against increased migratory pressure from Belarus. Warsaw accuses Minsk of engineering the migratory crisis in an attempt to destabilise Poland and other EU member states.

The estimated cost of constructing border barriers there is PLN 1.6 billion (EUR 350 million).

Wąsik said the government was seeking co-financing from the bloc's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Integrated Border Management Fund. He said the government was applying for EUR 10.5 million from the AMIF to cover the costs of an increased number of migrants staying in Polish facilities.

"But we have also applied to the Integrated Border Management Fund for a sum of over EUR 200 million to gain co-financing both for the investments we're talking about (building barriers on the eastern border - PAP) and for special equipment for our officers," Wąsik told the house, adding that the total was about EUR 218 million.

He went on to say 100-percent co-financing was not expected.

"The European Commission president has said the Commission will not fund the construction of barriers," he said. "Really there has not been a case yet where such types of barriers - there are several in Europe - have been financed by the EU."

He added that the fence on the Belarusian border was already part-financed.

The deputy minister also explained that for most migrants entering the EU from Belarus view Poland as a transit country.

"The aim of these people, who are currently in Belarus and knocking on the door of the EU, is Germany," he said. "And they will have a problem. We are helping our German partners in maintaining a certain rigour in migration policy. We are helping because we are a loyal EU member and we realise that the obligation is on us."