Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has railed against the EU's migration pact, stating in an interview the deal is preventing his country from dealing with migrants coming from Russia and Belarus. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)


Donald Tusk says EU migration pact is hurting Poland


Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has railed against the EU’s migration pact, saying the deal prevented his country from dealing with migrants streams from Russia and Belarus.

Tusk says the migration pact prevents Poland from properly defending its borders and, by extension, the EU’s.

Russia and Belarus have sent migrant “hybrid attacks” to Poland since before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow has allowed, and even helped, migrants lacking proper documents to traverse Russian territory and attempt to enter EU countries.

Other countries like Finland, which joined NATO in 2023, have seen similar Russian hybrid attacks in early 2024.

“Nobody can check each person individually when Russia and Belarus send thousands of people to the border at once,” Tusk said.

“They do this deliberately and cold-bloodedly. If we can handle a thousand people, they send ten thousand and so on, their goal is destabilisation,” he added.

“They treat migrants like tools, like objects. They want us to reach a point where we have to deny our own rights and values,” said Tusk.

Tusk insisted that Poland not be left “helpless in the face of Putin and Lukashenko” by the EU migration agreement, adding pleas to protect migrants’ rights were moot in the face of hostile countries’ attempts to weaponise them.

The migrant pact is “not a good answer to the problems we have in Poland,” he told Germany’s Die Welt after he was asked if he wanted the deal renegotiated.

Tusk stopped short of justifying so-called migrant “pushbacks” rumoured to have taken place on Poland’s borders in recent months.

“Pushbacks” involve a government sending migrants, including asylum seekers, back to the country they came from, without allowing them to make asylum claims.

Routinely condemned by human rights organisations, the European Commission described the practice as “violating the general rule of non-refoulement”.

According to pro-asylum-seeker organisation InfoMigrants, there have been around 6,000 such pushbacks on the Polish-Belarusian border in the last six months.

“I will not justify some of the methods used by the Polish border guards, but we must not be helpless in the face of Putin and Lukashenko , because they not only organise this, but use it as a means of pressure,” Tusk said.

“We must act as humanely as possible. Pushbacks as a method are morally unacceptable; we must find a better solution, but the alternative cannot be helplessness.”