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Shouldn’t Poland be taking in more African refugees? Poland is a large EU country with a booming economy.

Hi there.  (Credit Al Jazeera)

Original Posting Date: 24/06/2018
Question as answered Shouldn’t Poland be taking in more African refugees? Poland is a large EU country with a booming economy.

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This question was asked at the time of the first Migration crisis where indeed there was quite a sizeable focus on North Africans coming into Europe in 2014. Germany at the time invited them in and then expected other countries to take co-responsibility for this rash action, especially blaming Poland, like they had anything, anything whatsoever, to lecture Poland about other than how to make a nice Vollfettquark, or a decent Leberwurst. Oh, and literature. But less of that.

These days we have a more topical migrant crisis but I haven’t really needed to update the text below to take account of the change in times, but something to bear in mind when reading this is that the main issue now is it is no longer Germany wanting to take them, they have closed the doors to the migrants coming via Belarus and are not encouraging them from anywhere else either, and I have not heard Olaf-faminit Schultz, the new socialist chancellor for a month or so now, change back from Merkel’s hardened position, although it is early days yet and I don’t put anything past German Socialists.

The main issue now is that these migrants are very clearly being weaponised by Russia and Belarus, in a context of military pressure around the Ukrainian border. I do get why Putin feels he should push on the east of Ukraine, why he and Lukashenko are having a good laugh really exposing the hypocrisy of western Europe this way, but I cannot condone the weaponising of people. Moreover, each of these people apparently paid good money to Belarus for transit and the simple pocketing of the money seems very cynical. On top of which Belarus forces have gone too far in assisting breaches of the border and clearly this is not acceptable. I can only commend the Polish side for a very measured reaction. Clearly both sides have at their disposal ordinance which would allow a very rapid and harmful escalation of hostilities. It is therefore a good thing if this mess can be put right by the President of Belarus.  He’s going to have to step up and bear the costs of this one, unless Putin is bailing him out.

Anyway, here is the article exonerating Poland from any moral need to take in non-European refugees. Poland has actually taken a reasonable (by comparison to similarly engaged countries) share of  Afghans whom they knew and worked with during Western occupation of Afghanistan. I am not dealing with that issue here, it is in my opinion a separate and very complex issue, but suffice it to say hardly anyone appearing on the Belarus -Polish border is from Afghanistan, despite early media reports that this was the case.

Last time I looked, Poland wasn’t the ‘First Safe Country’ with regard to any African country. Nor any Middle Eastern one. It is, however, ‘First Safe Country’ for Ukraine, so in accordance with the relevant international treaty that is actually signed up to by our nations, namely the Dublin Accord, (as opposed to making new laws up as you go along, which is what some leaders in the EU, notably Merkel, have been doing) it accepts refugees from that country, and has done so far in excess of its duty, with about a million Ukrainians having benefited from an open door to Poland. And this in spite of Ukrainians having been responsible for some of the worst massacres against Poles in living memory. They are not exactly natural allies.

As far as economic migrants are concerned there is no point in accepting these from Africa in a big lump but for sure there might be some who have skills we need, and indeed you do see Africans around, and I have been to a fine Nigerian doctor here in Warsaw, probably some of the people from Poland reading this post know who I mean and people like this man will always have an open door to Poland.
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