Will the refugees seek the way to Germany via Poland? This question is currently occupying the Polish media
After the erection of the fence on the Hungarian border with Serbia, the EU border agency Frontex ames a new route of refugees who are currently trying to reach Western European countries by land from Greece, as the agency told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
Besides the short but mountainous route to Western Europe via Bosnia and Croatia, there is also another route via Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Poland. Patryk Kugiel of the State Institute for International Affairs also expects more refugees "Institute of International Affairs" from. Ukraine is considered destabilized by the war in the east of the country.
At the moment it is quiet at the Polish border. So far this year, only 717 illegal border crossings from countries such as Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia into the EU have been detected, according to Frontex. These were mainly Afghans and Syrians.
Poland is considered a transit country for asylum seekers. The country’s refugee centers are dominated by Caucasian people from the Russian Federation, such as Chechens. However, most of them receive only toleration.
At the same time, the country is known for waves of emigration, the last of which was triggered by EU accession. In 2004, the unemployment rate was still 20 percent; in the last ten years, about two million Poles have emigrated to earn a living in western EU countries.
The eastern EU countries are currently under criticism in Brussels and Berlin because they want to take in only a few refugees; in an agreement with the EU in July, Poland committed itself to accommodating just 2,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East over the next two years. After a long procedure, 200 Christian Syrians were allowed to enter Poland through an aid organization and are being cared for privately.
Polish President Andrzej Duda recently explained in Berlin Poland’s low level of solidarity with countries like Germany, which will probably take in 800 refugees this year.000 asylum seekers, with an impending flood of refugees from Ukraine. In Ukraine, there are officially already 1.3 million internally displaced persons, plus a high number of unreported cases, since not all of them want to register as refugees.
Since 2014 there have been 4.000 Ukrainians in Poland applied for the status of refugees, were granted only a few dozen, according to the Foreign Affairs Office. Polish authorities, however, more easily approve residence permits for Ukrainians, this year it will increase to 18.000 assessed. There is no figure on Ukrainians currently living legally or illegally in Poland; most come to the coarser cities to work.
The extent to which Poland will be confronted with a large number of Ukrainian refugees remains a matter of speculation. But the social situation in the eastern neighboring country is worsening.
"Martyrs or invaders?"
Although Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz admitted on Monday that she would take in more refugees from the Middle East and Africa, her spokesman Cezary Tomczyk fearfully backed down on Tuesday: "There is no question of new quotas." On Friday, Kopacz will meet in Prague with the heads of government of the "Visegrad Group", which includes the countries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, for consultation.
Polish government politicians are currently less afraid of European prere than of domestic prere – parliamentary elections are coming up at the end of October and, according to polls, seventy percent of Poles reject asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East.
"Immigrants – martyrs or invaders", asks the news magazine "Wprost" and provocatively depicts an African woman in a chador holding a baby in her arms. The wreath of stars of the European flag forms a kind of halo over the woman, which makes her look like Mary with the baby Jesus.