Publication date 28.08.2017

Reply to the European Commission: Poland is against the relocation mechanism

“Poland is consistently against the relocation mechanism. This solution is wrong and threatens our security. I wish to reiterate that national security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State,” stated Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. The Head of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration signed another reply to the European Commission’s accusations that Poland did not admit its share of immigrants.

Minister Mariusz Błaszczak

According to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, the Commission failed to take Poland’s arguments into account. The document indicated systemic shortcomings in the mechanism for enforcing relocation decisions, which render it impossible to ensure appropriate security guarantees. The European Commission argues that both decisions ensure sufficient verification mechanisms. Poland believes, however, that this statement is false. As soon as these directives entered into force, nearly all Member States clearly pointed to the significant shortcomings and intentional actions of Italy, which prevented effective verification of the applicants. Poland was unable to verify the identity of candidates for relocation from Italy, as well as persons staying in Greece. It was, therefore, deprived of a fundamental measure that would allow the country to assess the applicants’ credibility.

It could be stated that, in its correspondence, the European Commission failed to respond to numerous arguments put forward by Poland in its previous letters. This could indicate a dogmatic approach to its previous position concerning the refugee relocation mechanism among other issues.

In its reply to the European Commission, the Government of Poland clearly stated that Poland did not agree to the EC exceeding its Treaty powers to interfere with Member States’ national competences in the area of security, integration and social issues. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) unequivocally confirms that national security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State. Moreover, the Court of Justice also indicated on numerous occasions that it was the responsibility of Member States to adopt appropriate measures so as to ensure their internal and external security and that only Member States have the competence to maintain public order and ensure internal security. Therefore, the security policy falls within the remit of individual Member State policies rather than the Community policy.

“Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, Berlin, Manchester, Barcelona. How many more cities need to become a target for terrorists before the European Union wakes up? Before the European Commission finally concedes that admitting blindly all of those who reach the European coasts by sea is putting a noose around the Europe’s neck. The European Commission ignored our argument that such decisions trigger a pull factor, attracting further waves of migrants. We are thus wondering, why the EC failed to reply to our argument, even though it keeps claiming that the crisis continues, and further relocation actions are needed,” stressed Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

Poland consistently believes that the key to solving this migration issue is acting at the roots of the problem, i.e. where the migration begins. Therefore, in its reply submitted to the European Commission, Poland underlined that the action taken by the European Union should be based on cooperation with third countries located along the migration routes, building their capacity in the area of asylum and migration management, as well as humanitarian aid for refugees provided close to their countries of origin. It is also enormously important to strengthen the protection of the EU’s external borders and fight with migrant smugglers and human traffickers. In its reply to the European Commission, Poland maintains its argument regarding the so-called secondary movements. When people are arbitrarily relocated to a particular country, often against their will, some of them are likely to start moving to other Member States. This process is taking place constantly and applicants are treating the relocation process as a means of obtaining international protection in order to reach their target country later on. This movement is caused by significant differences in the standard of living between individual Member States, e.g. in terms of labour market, access to housing, or the amount of social benefits.

As the Head of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration pointed out, “The deadlines imposed on Poland are different from those commonly accepted, leading to certain shortcomings already indicated in the previous replies to the European Commission. We can draw a certain analogy here with the hasty adoption of relocation decisions which are clearly full of numerous errors resulting from that speedy procedure adopted by the EC.”

Poland supports providing humanitarian aid and ensuring that the external borders of the European Union are protected. The Polish Government shows solidarity with our partners, e.g. by strengthening the protection of the European Union’s external borders. Aid can be extended for example under the operations initiated by FRONTEX. Finally, Poland is increasingly involved in providing humanitarian aid to third countries that are particularly affected by the crisis.

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