Commentary Migration

PM Morawiecki: Europe is not as Brussels sees it

The Polish prime minister gave an interview to the French daily Le Figaro in which he stressed the need to build a Europe of nation states and resolve migration issues.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki predicts that the elections to the European Parliament will show a different Europe to the one currently seen in Brussels.

PM Morawiecki explained that Central Europe’s different attitudes towards migration stemmed from differences in the level of economic development between the west and east of Europe. He saw no reason “why Poles who are far less wealthy and endured terrible times should be forced to take in migrants at the same rate as Germany. That would be discriminatory. I should not have to remind you that we have taken in 1.5 million Ukrainians.”

He argued that an “open door” policy was not the answer. He felt that it would be better to help poor countries develop their economies and that Poland was doing just that with its aid program. He acknowledged that there was also a need to defend Europe’s identity and security. “We have to hear what people say they are afraid of,” he said, adding that the link between Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism could not be denied.

PM Morawiecki saw the future of Europe as one of nation states rather than one of a United States of Europe, which he felt was held by French President Emmanuel Macron. “European nations have their own magnificent cultures,” he said. He accepted that there were “common European values” but felt that there could be no “universal European identity” as there was a multitude of languages and interests.” These had to be respected rather than contested, he added.

Finally, he predicted that the elections to the European Parliament would show that “Europe is totally different from the way Brussels perceives it.” He felt that rather than label new movements as ‘populist’, their democratic origins should be acknowledged and voices heard.

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