WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s prime minister drew a link on Thursday between an attack in London targeting the British parliament and the European Union’s migrant policy, saying the assault vindicated Warsaw’s refusal to take in refugees.
Five people, including the attacker, were killed and about 40 injured on Wednesday after a car ploughed into pedestrians near the British parliament. Police believe the attack was “Islamist-related”, but have given no details about the attacker, who they say was acting alone.
Poland’s right-wing, eurosceptic government has refused to accept any of the 6,200 migrants allocated to it under the European Union’s quota scheme that is designed to share the burden of taking in the large numbers of migrants and refugees who have come to Europe over the past two years.
“I hear in Europe very often: do not connect the migration policy with terrorism, but it is impossible not to connect them,” Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told private broadcaster TVN24.
Earlier this week the EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, on a visit to Warsaw, warned member states against failing to host refugees to help alleviate pressure on frontline states bearing the brunt of arrivals across the Mediterranean.
“The commissioner should concentrate on what to do to avoid such acts as yesterday in London ... Poland will not succumb to blackmail such as that expressed by the commissioner,” Szydlo said.
“The commissioner is coming to Warsaw and trying to tell us: you have to do what the EU decided, you have to take these migrants .... Two days later another terrorist attack in London occurs,” she said.
The leader of Szydlo’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said back in 2015 that refugees could bring diseases and parasites to Poland, which is staunchly Roman Catholic and has very few Muslim immigrants.
The migrant issue is just one of several over which Poland is at odds with the EU.
Also on Thursday Szydlo said Poland might not accept a declaration EU leaders are due to endorse in Rome this month that will chart the bloc’s course after Britain leaves unless it addresses issues Warsaw considers crucial.
Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Gareth Jones