A border patrol van on the Polish-Belarusian border near the village of Nomiki, Poland. EPA-EFE/ARTUR RESZKO POLAND OUT


Poland’s Tusk: ‘Survival of Western civilisation depends on halting migration’


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has told his party’s supporters a “brutal truth” – that the “survival of Western civilisation” depends upon preventing “uncontrolled migration”.

Speaking on February 11 at an event in the town of Morąg to launch his Civic Coalition’s (KO) campaign for April’s local elections, Tusk talked about the situation on Poland’s border with Belarus.

Since 2021, tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, have tried to enter Poland and the European Union via there.

“The first and most important task of the Polish State when it comes to the situation at the border is to protect the border, including from illegal migration,” he said.

He added that his Government “will do what we have to in order not to violate standards and to prevent situations that violate humanitarian values”, stating that people dying on the Polish side of the border could not be tolerated.

Human rights groups have alleged dozens have perished there but these claims were disputed by the border guards’ authority during the reign of the former Conservative (PiS) government.

Tusk said the practice of “push-backs” – sending migrants back across the border – was illegal, according to international law, and that the aim of his Government was to create a situation in which these practices were not needed.

He qualified that statement by saying his Government would “not make any decision that would recklessly result in our border becoming less tight than at present”.

Figures released by the interior ministry confirmed that such pushbacks have continued, albeit at a lower level – mainly because there have been fewer attempts to cross during the winter months.

Tusk also criticised the former government for “leaving holes in the system” such as alleged corruption in the visa system and what he called a “dysfunctional fence” on the border with Belarus.

He then signalled that could not and would not mean Poland becomes a “soft touch” on migration, calling it a major challenge for the security and “survival of the West”.

“Please believe me, and I say this also looking at what is happening in the US today, this is a question of the survival of our Western civilisation,” said Tusk.

“We must wake up and understand that we have to protect our territory, our borders, [and] that if we are open to all forms of migration without any control, our world will collapse.”

Migration was a major issue in October’s parliamentary elections, which saw the then-ruling PiS lose its majority, leading to Tusk forming a ruling coalition of Liberals, centrists and the Left.

In that election the PiS sought to paint Tusk as being “suspect on migration”, alleging he would succumb to the European Union’s demands to introduce a system for relocating illegal migrants within the whole EU.

It also pointed out that Tusk had gone on record doubting the logic of building a border fence with Belarus and the ability of the PiS government to finish the project.

Tusk hit back, arguing the PiS had overseen “record levels” of migration into Poland and also declared that, under his premiership, Poland would not accept a single migrant via the EU’s proposed scheme.

Despite continued Polish objections to the EU Migration Pact, the plans have been approved by a majority of EU Member States.

Poland is, though, unlikely to be called upon to take many more migrants in the foreseeable future because of the numbers it has had to accommodate from across the border in Ukraine.