Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has announced that a vote on whether the country should accept the European Union’s refugee quotas could coincide with general elections scheduled for 2019.
“I’m ready to put forward a motion for a referendum on this,” Duda said. “That would allow the new government to hear the clear voice of the nation on the issue.”
Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s cabinet, led by the ruling Law & Justice Party, has said it won’t accept any of the refugees who have come to Europe from the Middle East and Africa in the continent’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.
As reported by Bloomberg, Poland has been among the most vocal opponents of the EU’s decision to share refugees among member countries. Many of the 28-member bloc’s countries, including Poland under the former Civic Platform party, backed the measure in 2015 to shelter. Poland was obliged to relocate 7,000 of the 120,000 people to be hosted by member countries in that decision.
Countries including Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, however, have refused to comply. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has actively opposed the ban, even though voters dealt a blow to his efforts last October when too few turned out in a referendum to make the result binding. In neighbouring Slovakia, Prime Minister Robert Fico said the Hungarian vote rendered the EU’s plan “dead.” The government in Prague approved a resolution this week to stop accepting more migrants after relocating 12 last year.
Last week, however, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned the Czech Republic to respect the collective decision by EU members to relocate refugees or risk facing legal infringement procedures from the bloc.
“Solidarity is also not a one-way street,” Juncker said.