Responding to the liberal U.K. newspaper the Guardian Ambassador Witold Sobków had his response published today.
Having read your article (‘Poles don’t want immigrants. They don’t understand them, don’t like them’
2 July), let me assure you that the Solidarność generation is “eager to
prove its own solidarity”, but the expression of such solidarity must
be multidimensional. The article does not mention at all what Poland has
been doing for immigrants and refugees from eastern Europe.
As our frontier is also the EU external eastern border, we
successfully integrate thousands of people who have come to Poland from
eastern Europe and have found their home in our country. Some have Polish roots or
have relatives in Poland, like the group recently evacuated from
Donbass, fleeing the fighting with Russia-backed separatists. Others
simply want to settle down in my country, like the Vietnamese community.
About half a million Ukrainians live and work in Poland, and they are
welcome, which is not well known in the west.
Despite little enthusiasm for a mandatory quota system imposed on us, Poland
is willing to respond positively and to welcome some refugees from
other regions than eastern Europe. We are working on procedural and
legal aspects of such a decision. We need a complex endeavour to
identify migrants who really need to be protected and to prepare centres
that would house them. We await some financial, operational and legal
guidelines from the commission.
If the conflict in eastern Ukraine
escalated (let’s hope not), the Polish-Ukrainian border might be
crossed by hundreds of thousands of refugees. We believe in solidarity,
solidarity for all.
Witold SobkówAmbassador of the Republic of Poland