The obvious losers in the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border are migrants, writes CNN. The American television portal also argues that the situation on the border is “useful” for the ruling PiS in Poland, because it helps “to divert attention from a series of inconvenient issues”.
CNN published on Sunday an article on the situation related to the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. He included the thesis that he helped the Polish government “to distract from a series of inconvenient issues.”
According to CNN, the power of Law and Justice has been weakening since the 2015 elections, in which the party won a clear majority. Moreover, PiS “is in conflict with the European Commission over the rule of law and is met with broad opposition – especially in urban areas – to its position on cultural issues,” we read in the commentary.
CNN also writes that earlier this month – after the death of a pregnant woman 30-year-old Izabela in a hospital in Pszczyna – the discussion about the permissibility of abortion flared up again in Poland and many protesters against the tightening of the anti-abortion law took to the streets. “Against this background, the drama that took place on the country’s eastern border with Belarus – although not provoked by Poland and serious for all involved – can be perceived as a helpful distraction for the ruling PiS party,” wrote the Americans.
“This migration crisis is quite useful from the point of view of the national political agenda for the party [PiS – przyp. red.]because he’s in trouble right now. And he has been in trouble for a long time, because the parliamentary majority is getting thinner, “says CNN, head of the Warsaw office of the European Council of Foreign Affairs, Piotr Buras.
CNN also notes that the ruling faction “has already lost control of the Polish upper house [Senatem – przyp. red.] in the 2019 elections, and President Andrzej Duda with a slight advantage, supported by PiS, won the presidential election last year in the second round.
In turn, according to Buras, rising inflation causes financial problems for many people in Poland, and polls indicate that support for the government has fallen in recent weeks. “I do not want to underestimate the situation, because it is a risky, serious, quite difficult political situation, because it is associated with a security conflict and a humanitarian crisis, but there is of course also an attempt to use this crisis politically,” he said.
Judy Dempsey, editor of the blog “Strategic Europe” of the think-tank Carnegie Europe, assessed in turn that the crisis “went very well” for the ruling party. In her opinion, support for the government has fallen due to protests over the death of a pregnant 30-year-old woman in a hospital in Pszczyna, but “after this whole crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border, Law and Justice is now perceived as an advocate of Poland’s sovereignty and, of course, the protection of Europe.”
Journalists only on the Belarusian side
“It seems that the decision of the Polish government – which was also opposed to accepting refugees during the 2015 migration crisis – to firmly maintain border security, gained broad national support,” the study reads. According to Buras, the politicians of the Polish opposition “are in a difficult situation because they cannot say that they do not want to defend the border.”
CNN also writes that “Warsaw tried to hide the crisis by blocking the Polish side of the border for journalists, aid workers and doctors” by introducing and then extending the state of emergency, which covers 183 towns in Podlasie and the Lublin region, and was initially introduced for 30 days from September 2 but on September 30, the Seym agreed to extend it by 60 days.
“This did not always work to the advantage of the Polish government: some of the most convincing images of the crisis, such as, for example, the Polish border forces using water cannons against desperate migrants, were caught on the Belarusian side of the border where international journalists could act,” CNN writes. the government is trying pass new lawswhich would apply after the expiry of the state of emergency in the following month.
The European Commission expresses solidarity with Poland
“The crisis also forced the European Union to mobilize for Poland at a time of an increasingly fierce dispute between the European Commission and Poland over the rule of law and independence of the judiciary,” CNN believes.
As he adds, the last installment of the series of conflicts is the imposition of a fine on Poland at the end of October by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the amount of one million euros a day in connection with the operation of its Disciplinary Chamber not recognized by the Supreme Court. Poland is obliged to pay this periodic penalty to the European Commission. “Now the European Commission and key European powers are supporting Poland as a defender of the eastern border of the bloc,” we read.
As Piotr Buras told the US portal, PiS MPs openly expressed their hope that the European Commission “will show greater understanding for Poland and take a lighter approach to the rule of law due to the border crisis.” Nevertheless, he added, the political situation is “very unstable” and the Polish government risks being trapped by its ruthless rhetoric about border security and will not be able to back down.
What after the crisis?
If the crisis eases – by migrants returning to their homelands or no longer being at the border – the extent to which the Polish government continues to benefit from the “nationalist fervor” it has sparked will depend in part on how effective the opposition is.
She pointed out that another factor to consider are those in Poland who do not share the government’s desire to keep migrants away. “We must not forget that there are civil society movements and NGOs and decent people who want these migrants to be treated properly, who want access to the border to help them,” she said. In her opinion, “if the crisis subsides, the Law and Justice will undoubtedly try to maintain nationalist fervor, but cannot be sustained.”
Migrants “obvious losers”
“The obvious losers in this crisis are migrants, mainly from the Middle East, who paid smugglers large sums for the false promise of easy illegal access to Poland and travel deep into Europe in search of a better life,” says CNN. He points out that several people “died of cold in frosty forests along the border with Belarus”. “Others chose to go home, gaining nothing but debt. Iraqi Airways evacuation plane flew out of Minsk on Thursday, carrying more than 400 Iraqis back to Erbil and Baghdad, “we read on.
The Border Guard informs that since the beginning of the year it has recorded over 35,000 attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border, of which over 6,000 in November, nearly 17.3 thousand. in October, almost 7.7 thous. in September and over 3.5 thousand. in August. Several migrants died on the Polish side of the border.
Main photo source: EPA / STRINGER