(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Poland is ready to accept migrants from Europe, but it refuses to implement the EU relocation scheme and accept migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told RIA Novosti in an interview.
"Poland is open for migration. And last year for instance we issued 1,267,000 visas for Ukrainians. Half of these visas were work permit... We are also open for migration not only from Ukraine but also from Belarus and other countries. We do not want to participate in the mandatory process of relocation of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa. We do not want to implement the decision of the European Union taken in September of 2015," Waszczykowski said.
In 2015, EU member states adopted a solidarity plan, according to which the each country would, amongst themselves, relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from overcrowded refugee camps in Italy and Greece.
Poland, which was then led by the Civic Platform political party, agreed to take in 6,200 refugees, mainly from Syria. After a parliamentary election that same year, which took place amid the peak of the EU migration crisis, Poland's Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party came to power. The new government urgently backed out of the previous ruling party's commitment to accept asylum seekers.
According to the minister, the EU migrants relocation scheme violates the European treaties.
"Migration is the policy of the country. Process of migration is supposed to be regulated by the policy of the country. Depends on the job market, and depends on the demography. If the country needs migrants because of the lack of labor and is opening the market for the labor... And Polish government is regulating the migration policy according to these factors I mean demography and labor market," the minister added.
The European Commission brought a lawsuit against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in mid-June, claiming that the three countries were in violation of EU legislation by refusing to accept refugees under its 2015 relocation plan.