Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks at a press conference. He has repeated his view that the EU migration pact should not apply to Poland becuase fo the pressures the country faces on its eastern border. EPA-EFE/Leszek Szymanski


Tusk adamant EU Migration Pact will not apply to Poland


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has insisted the European Union Migration Pact approved by the European Parliament will not apply to Poland.

“We will see what the final version of this pact will be. I have certain capabilities to build alliances, and certainly the relocation mechanism or paying for not accepting migrants, this mechanism will not apply to Poland,” Tusk said after the Parliament voted in favour of the Pact on April 10.

He promised that European leaders “will return to this topic anyway” and seemed to hold out hope that there would be changes after the European Parliament elections in June when “the political make-up of the EP may also change a bit”.

Regardless, Tusk was adamant that the migration regulations will not apply to Poland and that his Government will find “ways to protect Poland from the relocation mechanism, even if this Pact comes into force in more or less the same shape as it was voted on in Parliament”.

He will need all to exert all his influence within the EU to have any chance of shifting the dial on the Pact, which will now go to a vote in the Council of the EU on April 29 where it will only require a qualified majority in favour; Member States’ vetoes will not apply.

After formal approval of the package by the Council, the regulations will come into effect upon their publication in the Official Journal, the EU’s gazette of record.

Regarding the directive on the conditions for the reception of immigrants, Member States will have two years to implement changes in national law.

Tusk will also be aware that one of the parties in his ruling coalition, The Left, supports the Migration Pact and its six MEPs either voted in favour or abstained on the measure during the EP vote on April 10.

That was picked up on by Dominik Tarczyński MEP, the leader of the Conservatives (PiS) faction within the European Conservatives Reformers group, who doubted Tusk’s chances, saying: “Who does Tusk think he’s kidding. People who he’s in coalition with are voting for the Pact. I’ve just seen them do it!” he said, according to Polish news agency PAP.

Tarczyński also pointed out: “The European People’s Party [of which Tusk was once a leader] played a leading role in this debacle” and that the Pact marked “the actual opening of the EU’s border and a return to a compulsory relocation mechanism”.

Tusk also hopes that the pressures Poland faces on the border with Belarus and the potential for a new wave of refugees from Ukraine, as well as all the Ukrainian refugees the country has already absorbed, will be enough to ensure that Poland is not expected to receive more and neither will it be charged for not doing so.

A Member State’s ability to opt out from Migration Pact regulations requires a European Commission recommendation.