Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More agree with Poland

According to government spokesman Rafał Bochenek, the European Union is increasingly adopting Poland's wary stance on refugees.

In a press conference, Bochenek said that the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party “will never agree to the European Commission imposing any quotas" on member states obliging them to accept refugees.

He added: “Finally, the EU has taken Poland’s stance. Our position is becoming an EU position”.

Why not flee to other Muslim counties? Language and customs would be similar.

Bochenek was speaking after the leader of the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, Grzegorz Schetyna, said – announcing an apparent shift in policy – that his party is “against accepting illegal immigrants to Poland.”

When the PO party led the governing coalition up to the 2015 general elections, then-party leader and PM Ewa Kopacz said Poland could take several thousand refugees as part of an EU program. But so far Poland has not taken in a single asylum seeker from Italy and Greece as part of the plan.

Various members of the PiS government, including Prime Minister Beata Szydło, have said that Poland will not accept refugee quotas imposed by the EU.

“Prime Minister Beata Szydło was one of the first EU prime ministers to raise the matter [of resolving the migration crisis outside the EU] on the European stage,” Bochenek said.

Bochenek said, “From week to week, from month to month, the arguments of Prime Minister Beata Szydło have been accepted by more and more EU member states, which is reflected in numerous conclusions adopted in European Councils.”

In April the UK’s The Times daily reported that Poland could face political and financial consequences because of its government’s decision not to accept refugees.

But Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said at the time: “I do not see how it will be possible to punish Poland for anything because the migration problem … is not connected to structural funds.”

Meanwhile, Poland is supporting Hungary and Slovakia in a case against the EU refugee quotas scheme in the EU’s top court.

At a hearing which started last week, the two countries are disputing the EU’s decision to distribute migrants across the bloc.

A lawyer representing Poland told European Court of Justice judges that the EU quota framework lacks instruments to protect host countries against terrorist attacks.

Power switch

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed to link their power systems to other EU member member nations through Poland as they look to reduce their dependence on Russia.

The power grids in Baltic countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union and are still integrated with those in Belarus and Russia.

The three tiny countries say dependence on Russia is a threat, because of a lack of transparency on upkeep of the network in Russia, which they say makes it hard to rely on its stability.

"We would want to desynchronize the Baltic States from Russia. And first priority is desyncronization which will be done through Poland," Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas told reporters in Tallinn after meeting his counterparts from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

"All four of us agreed that we will try to get clarity on division of [duties] between all four countries by the end of the year," Ratas said.

Russia has never cut power flows to the Baltic states or threatened to do so, but Lithuania lists its power system's synchronization with Russia as one of the top national security risks.

The countries will still need to find a way to accommodate Russia, whose Kaliningrad enclave power network is currently synchronized with mainland Russia through the Baltic states.

Controversial monument

Lviv regional authorities have appealed to the Polish government to rebuild a controversial monument to the former Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the southeast of Poland. 
 The appeal, by the Lviv Oblast Council is addressed to Poland’s central government as well as the authorities of Podkarpackie province in which the monument resided.

There was a monument in the Polish village of Hruszowice which honored members of the UPA who fought Poles during and in the aftermath of World War II and who were killed during clashes with Polish soldiers in 1946.

Without the consent of Polish authorities the monument was illegally erected in 1994 and was dismantled at the end of April this year by members of Polish right-wing organizations with the consent of the local authorities.

The illegally built monument in Hruszwice

Councilors in the Lviv region have termed the dismantling of the monument an anti-Ukrainian provocation. They have adopted a resolution in which they suggest that Poland should rebuild the Hruszowice monument just as the Ukrainians have rebuilt a monument honoring Polish victims of Ukrainian soldiers that was destroyed by unknown perpetrators earlier this year in the no-longer-existing village of Huta Pieniacka in what was once eastern Poland and is now western Ukraine.

The councilors express their support for the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, which, after the dismantling of the Hruszowice monument, declared that it would halt the legalization of Polish memorial sites in Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, there are more than 100 such sites in Ukraine.