Poland defends EU's eastern border and Germany, Polish PM says

On Thursday, Morawiecki visited Berlin, where he met with Merkel to discuss the situation on the border and to coordinate an EU and Nato response to the hybrid warfare waged against the EU by the Belarusian government of Alexander Lukashenko. Marcin Obara/PAP

Poland is protecting Germany by securing the EU's eastern border against an influx of “refugees,” Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, said after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Polish prime minister is continuing his diplomatic tour of European capitals to garner support for Poland's operations on the country's border with Belarus, where a wave of migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, is trying to cross into the EU by force.

On Thursday, Morawiecki visited Berlin, where he met with Merkel to discuss the situation on the border and to coordinate an EU and Nato response to the hybrid warfare waged against the EU by the Belarusian government of Alexander Lukashenko.

"We're defending the EU's external border, therefore we're also defending Germany from a huge wave of refugees," Morawiecki said at a press conference after the meeting.

"Polish-German relations are undoubtedly fundamental for the cohesion of the European Union and the quality of response to the crises... that are taking place in the EU neighbourhood, around Ukraine, Moldova and in several other places, including the Western Balkans," Morawiecki said.

When it comes to those crises, the Polish prime minister said, "most strings are being pulled by the Kremlin, by the Russian leader."

"A lot depends on the quality of cooperation between Poland and Germany, including whether we'll be able to continue our efforts to strengthen prosperity and peace in this part of the world," Morawiecki added.

Observing that the EU has "huge economic potential," Morawiecki said the bloc also has the potential "to respond to the challenges prepared by someone else from outside the European Union."

Morawiecki also said the EU should continue talking to countries from where the current migration originates.

"We're working through various diplomatic channels in the Middle East and this has proven to be effective," Morawiecki continued. "We've been cooperating with Central Asian countries, such as Uzbekistan, and so far the actions have been successful."

The German chancellor said that now the main task is to solve the migration problem "by what Poland is doing, which is protecting borders and through our joint operations."

"The point is to show the world what's happening there," Merkel said, hinting that the EU may impose more sanctions on the Belarusian regime "if there is no visible progress."

"And we still can't see the de-escalation that Poland expects," she added.

Turning to Ukraine's problems and an imminent threat from Russia, Merkel said the EU "is doing everything to avoid further aggression."

"Any further aggressive action against Ukraine's sovereignty would involve a high price," she said, adding that Russia should be given an opportunity for dialogue.

Poland has been struggling to stem a wave of migrants from the Belarusian side of the border for several months now. However, in recent days illegal entry attempts have become much more organised and have involved large numbers of migrants, often aided by Belarusian security services.

Poland, other EU members and the United States have accused the Belarus of instigating the crisis in order to destabilise the EU.