Poland rejects EU's proposals to transfer migrants from the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa across member states, a minister said on Wednesday.
“Nobody can force us to do this. We will act in such a way as not to accept immigrants. The EU is preparing to introduce such coercion. That is why we are holding a referendum so that Poles can have their say,” Maciej Wasik, a deputy interior minister, told Polish Radio.
The public vote on migration and three other issues, and parliamentary elections in Poland are scheduled for Oct. 15.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's 10-point plan for Lampedusa includes, among other pledges, supporting the transfer of migrants to other EU member states, and returning them to their countries of origin.
Last week, several thousand people arrived on the Italian island by boat from North Africa, forcing the local authorities to declare a state of emergency.
The EU says the plan is meant to reduce irregular migration and provide immediate EU assistance to the Italian authorities, in accordance with fundamental rights and international conventions.
Asked by the radio host "how many migrants from Lampedusa will Poland accept," Wasik replied: "None."
“Let me remind you that such proposals have been around since 2015 …PiS [Law and Justice party] does not agree to any forced relocation,” he said. “The situation in Europe must change, the European Commission must change its approach to this, and in general the attitude in several European countries that have so far been leading in accepting immigrants must change."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.