Poland refuses to take refugees citing Paris attack as the cause
GN Staff | November 14, 2015
Will Paris attacks affect refugee crisis and bring back xenophobia in European society? At least an indication of the attacks that claimed 127 people in the French capital by eight gunmen are going to have an effect on the refugees has been given by Poland.
Poland's incoming European affairs minister Konrad Szymanski said “there was no longer any political possibilities” for the Eastern European country to take in refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Under the EU relocation plan, 160,000 refugees registered in the frontline states of Greece and Italy were to be relocated around the 28-member bloc.
In a piece published in the right-leaning news portal, Szymanski said his incoming government did not agree with Poland's commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of immigrants, and now, "in the face of the tragic acts in Paris” it had mandate to reject the scheme.
"The European Council's decisions, which we criticised, on the relocation of refugees and immigrants to all EU countries are part of European law," he wrote.
But "after the tragic events of Paris we do not see the political possibility of respecting them."
Szymanski will take up his position on Monday as part of a government formed by the last month's election winner, the conservative and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots. At least 128 people were killed in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II.
French President Francois Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France would stand firm against its foes. The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts.
The Islamic State released an undated video on Saturday threatening to attack France if bombings of its fighters continue. Earlier, on Saturday, Hollande said the attacks were committed by Islamic State, planned and organised from abroad with help from inside France.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said as many as five attackers were killed, though it was not clear how many there were altogether and how many, if any, were still at large.
The attack unfolded with two suicide bombings and an explosion outside the national stadium during a soccer match between the French and German national teams. Within minutes, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot, another group of attackers sprayed cafes outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then stormed inside and opened fire on the panicked audience. As police closed in, they detonated explosive belts, killing themselves.
In addition to the deaths at the concert hall, dozens were killed in an attack on a restaurant in the 10th arrondissement and several other establishments crowded on a Friday night, police said. Authorities said at least three people died when the bombs went off outside the soccer stadium.
This offensive follows the Charlie Hebdo terror attack where masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper.