News World Poland will hold a referendum on the plan to relocate immigrants

Poland will hold a referendum on the plan to relocate immigrants

Poland will hold a referendum on the plan to relocate immigrants

Both Hungary and Poland have so far vetoed in Brussels the text of the European Commission that sets the relocation objective of 30,000 refugees per year, with penalties of 20,000 euros per person for countries that refuse to accept them. This mechanism must now be negotiated in the European Parliament, where the Polish government knows it is impotent, and has decided to give the majority of European partners who defend the project a sample of democratic rejection, with the holding of a referendum this autumn that will have to sentence the participation or exclusion of the country in the European refugee relocation scheme.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has submitted a draft amendment that will allow it to hold a referendum on the same day as parliamentary, presidential or EU elections. “I can confirm that we plan the parliamentary elections together with a referendum on immigrant relocations to take place at the same time, also to reduce costs,” conservative Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced a vote that will take place in late September or early October. In this way, the Polish government will put Brussels in the bind of forcing compliance with a rule that citizens have expressly rejected in a democratic vote and also hopes to receive more attention for its “alternative plan, a plan for secure European borders” than Morawiecki names “The Europe of secure borders”. This concept rejects without exception illegal entries into European territory, rules out sanctions for countries that do not accept refugees and preserves national sovereignty in such decisions above European commitments.

Combining the referendum and the elections, PiS has a double victory. Not only does he lead in the electoral polls, but the majority of Poles also reject in the polls the obligation to receive any asylum seekers as part of the EU relocation plan. Up to 74% of Poles oppose relocations and only 26% believe the government should accept asylum seekers, according to the latest Pollster Institute survey, published by Super Express.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, between 9 and 10 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the Polish border and at least 1.3 million have been left to live without their own resources. Both the government and an extensive network of volunteers, who have even opened the doors of their homes, have endured the great reception operation and have given ample proof of their solidarity, but the fact is that the country feels overwhelmed. The solutions that were initially adopted as provisional have crystallized as permanent, both in state budgets and in homes in which, since February 2022, up to eight people from Ukraine have been welcomed and maintained.

Housing prices have increased significantly and public budgets have had to be cut, even in items such as Health, in order to finance the expenses caused by the reception. The fact that Ukrainians are looking for work makes it difficult for Poles to negotiate wage increases and inflation remains between 15% and 17%. “It’s not hostility, it’s exhaustion,” explains sociologist Jan Opielka about the growing rejection even of Ukrainian refugees, who are better accepted than those from the Middle East because they share the same culture.

Poles are divided on holding the referendum: a poll conducted by IBRiS for the Rzeczpospolita newspaper shows that 50.3% support the idea and 47% are against it. But once the referendum question is asked, most will clearly turn against the idea of ​​the EU accepting massive numbers of refugees and immigrants on its soil. “It’s a matter of logic: in the Schengen territory relocations are not going to work because people move as they want from country to country,” reasons Adrian Zandberg, from Razem. “PiS is trying to use an electoral trick already tried in 2015”, says Jan Maria Jackowski, an independent senator, “it is forcing migration in relation to the EU as the main issue of the electoral campaign, a strategy that will clearly benefit them at the polls at the price of polarizing the country”.

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