I decided to veto the part that dealt with migration. There is no such provision – said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday after the informal summit of the European Union in Granada, Spain. – Those who had already expressed it at the ministerial level expressed their opposition at the table, but it is not possible to block the decision that will be taken by a qualified majority – said French President Emmanuel Macron.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reported on Friday that the issue of illegal immigration was the “hottest topic” of the informal European Union summit in Granada, Spain.
– During bilateral talks, I was met with understanding. I expressed our voice very strongly in the plenary and decided to veto the part that concerned migration. This decision was respected by the President (of the European Council – ed.) Charles Michel. There is no such provision (in the conclusion of the summit – editor) regarding migration, Morawiecki said at a press conference.
Macron: opposition will not block the migration agreement
President of France Emmanuel Macron he stated, however, that although Poland and Hungary expressed their opposition to the migration pact, this does not necessarily mean that the final agreement on this matter will be blocked. – Those who had already expressed it at the ministerial level expressed their opposition at the table, but it is not possible to block the decision that will be made qualified majority – Macron said at the press conference after the summit.
According to the findings of TVN24’s Brussels correspondent, Maciej Sokołowski, the prime minister’s veto concerns a declaration that does not affect the content of the arrangements. As a result, Mateusz Morawiecki’s actions do not change the previous arrangements regarding migration, which were submitted for negotiations in the European Parliament and on which MEPs will start work on Wednesday.
Meloni: our position is different from Poland and Hungary
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated that she “perfectly understands” the position of Poland and Hungary on migration. The head of the Italian government told journalists after the meeting that the perception of the EU pact on migration and asylum between Italy, Poland and Hungary “is different, primarily for geographical reasons.”
Prime Minister Meloni said: – We voted for the pact because the new rules are better than the previous ones, but I did not come with this as a priority. This is a debate in the spirit of an old perception. Our position is different from Poland and Hungary for geographical reasons. These countries understand the Italian position, and I understand their position perfectly, and it does not harm our work.
The head of the Italian government considered combating the network of migrant smugglers to be a priority.
Meloni emphasized that she had talked to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and that he was “aware that only the Italian strategy can be effective”, i.e. cooperation with Tunisia, from where most boats currently sail towards the Italian coast. – Everyone tells us that cooperation with Tunis should be repeated with other countries in North Africa and beyond – added the Italian Prime Minister.
Michel: we will continue to implement all our decisions effectively and quickly
“We will not allow smugglers to decide who enters the European Union,” we read in the declaration of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, published after the end of the EU summit in Grenada.
“Migration is a European challenge that requires a European response. Illegal migration must be addressed immediately and decisively. We will not allow smugglers to decide who enters the EU,” Michel emphasized.
“We will continue to implement all our decisions effectively and quickly. We will pursue a comprehensive approach to migration that combines strengthening external action, mutually beneficial comprehensive partnerships with countries of origin and transit, addressing the root causes of migration, legal migration opportunities, more effective external border protection the EU, a determined fight against organized crime, trafficking in human beings and people smuggling, the instrumentalization of migration as a hybrid threat, the intensification of returns and internal aspects, in line with international law, EU principles and values, as well as the protection of fundamental rights,” the President of the European Council enumerated.
Morawiecki’s five-point plan
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that during the summit he presented a five-point plan to counteract illegal immigration. These include strong protection of external borders, a determined fight against people smugglers, cutting off social assistance for illegal immigrants, and help on the spot.
The Prime Minister emphasized that these proposals include, among others, enhanced control by Coastal Border Guard vessels throughout the Mediterranean Sea. – I talked about it with the prime ministers of Greece, Italy, Spain, the president of France and many other prime ministers who practically agreed with what I said, but many of them still support Germany and the European Commission – said the prime minister.
– Today I demonstrated to the European Council that if any migrants cross, it is generally not through the Polish-Belarusian border, but either through the Balkan route or – let’s call it conventionally – the Baltic route, through Latvia, whose border is perhaps not so tight yet, as our Lithuanian partners pointed out, said the Prime Minister.
He emphasized that “the majority of illegal immigrants enter the Balkan route.” – That is why, together with the Czech Republic and Germany, we have decided that each of us, each country, will introduce additional controls to catch illegal immigrants and send them back to where they came from, Morawiecki said.
With regard to the fight against people smugglers, the Prime Minister said that there are non-governmental organizations “which, de facto, are in contact with smuggling gangs under the guise of humanitarian activities.” – I heard this from various prime ministers – he added.
Informal EU summit in Grenada
An informal summit of the European Union was held on Friday in Granada, Spain. In an invitation to its participants, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, wrote that the meeting would include “a constructive dialogue on the most urgent issues currently facing our Union, such as migration.”
“But this meeting also marks the beginning of an important process of reflection on the future priorities of our Union. The discussions starting in Grenada will allow us to chart together the course of the Union, define its direction and goals for the coming years. The result of our reflection process, which will take place over the next few months, will shape the strategic program for 2024-2029,” Michel emphasized.
Morawiecki: They are afraid of this dictate coming from Brussels and Berlin. We are not afraid
Prime Minister Morawiecki spoke before the meeting on Friday morning. – Everyone here admits that Tusk’s party has agreed to support the migration pact in recent days. This means that Europe wants to implement these solutions. If Tusk’s party comes to power in Poland, these solutions will be introduced – illegal migrants will be located, (…) distributed among individual countries. Poland has a strong veto against this position. I said this to many prime ministers yesterday, and interestingly, many agree with me, said the prime minister.
As he said, “they are afraid of this dictate coming from Brussels and Berlin.” – We are not afraid of this dictate – we have already shown it once between 2015 and 2018 that regardless of the decision-making procedures in the European Union, in June 2018 we led to the fact that in the provisions of the European Council conclusions there was a clear indication that there is no the possibility of distributing illegal immigrants without the consent of individual Member States. It was Poland that won it then, said the Prime Minister.
– There was peace for five years. In June this year, once again dictated by Berlin, Brussels, with the support of Tusk’s party, began to implement its plan. A plan to accept illegal immigrants and impose draconian penalties on those countries that do not want to accept them. I told several prime ministers yesterday, and today I will say at the plenary session, that Poland definitely rejects this, primarily for the security of our country, added Mateusz Morawiecki.
– We want peace, security and predictability. The Law and Justice government is predictable. What we did five years ago, we will defend the Poles’ right to security today and at the next Council, if this is the voters’ decision, said the Prime Minister.
Migration and asylum pact adopted. Poland and Hungary against
On Wednesday in Brussels, the last element of the Migration and Asylum Pact was adopted at a meeting of ambassadors of member states to the EU. Poland and Hungary were against, while Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria abstained. It’s about the so-called crisis regulation.
The decision opens the way to starting negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the new regulations. On Wednesday, during the EP plenary session in Strasbourg, there was also a debate entitled “The need to quickly adopt the asylum and migration package.”
There is an ongoing discussion in Poland regarding the EU draft regulation on migrants. The government claims that the migration pact will include a “forced relocation” mechanism. Meanwhile, European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, also responsible for the issue of EU migration policy, emphasized in an interview with TVN24 correspondent in Brussels, Maciej Sokołowski, that “no one is forced to accept any migrants.”
Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka