The perception that many Europeans have of Poland through the media is that of a xenophobic and unsupportive country that refuses to welcome those who need help. The reality is very different.
The effects of the bet of Brussels and Merkel for massive immigration
Last May, I linked an article by Marcin Rzegocki about the forced relocation of Syrian refugees across the EU and the Polish position on the matter. The article pointed out that in the EU there are two different mentalities when it comes to helping people in need: “The first promotes the unlimited right to immigrate to Europe. The other would prefer to see the Syrians affected by the war being assisted in their homeland or in the refugee camps in neighboring Lebanon and Jordan.” Marcin warned then that the relocation of refugees, promoted from Brussels and by politicians as influential as Angela Merkel, “is expensive, encourages people who are not in danger to risk their lives trying to reach Europe, increases insecurity within Europe and it has emptied the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East, ironically helping the goal of ISIS to make Christianity disappear completely in its cradle.”
We can see that massive immigration is generating the following problems:
The Ukrainian wave of migration that currently supports Poland
There are people who think that Poland has not been affected by any wave of migration. It is not true. According to data compiled by Myroslava Lendel, from the National University of Uzhhorod, during the crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in 2014 and 2015 Poland was the third country in the EU that received the most Ukrainian refugees, a total of 3,610 (France hosted 2,265 and Spain 2,205, being countries with more population and richer than Poland). In 2016, Poland was the EU country that received the most Ukrainian immigrants: 141,000 (the Czech Republic was the second, with 102,900, and Italy the third with 76,300). In addition, and according to the Polish Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy published last year, in 2016 Poland gave work to 1.3 million Ukrainians. Currently there are more than 2 million.
The Ukrainian is an immigration that does not cause so many problems of assimilation in Poland as the Muslim one, because the Ukrainians are part of a Slavic and Christian environment very similar to the Polish one. However, this wave of migration causes concern among the Poles, because it is largely formed by construction workers who charge very modest salaries, and Poland already has very low average wages compared to the European average. In addition, and as can be seen, the weight of this wave of migration has not been shared equally by the same EU that wants to impose on Poland a quota of Muslim refugees. By what right does the rest of Europe accuse Poland of “unsupportive” in these conditions?
The Polish alternative: helping the needy in their countries
On the contrary, Poland significantly increased its spending on humanitarian aid in the Middle East, but to help people in need in their own home. The solution is better than the relocation policy in every way:
In 2016, Poland contributed 47 million zlotys (10.98 million euros) to help the victims of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Maybe someone does not think much, but that same year Spain spent 10 million. The difference becomes more striking if we take into account that Spain has 46 million inhabitants and Poland 37 million, with a GDP per capita of 25,000 and 12,100 euros, respectively. It is also not the only country to which Poland – one of the poorest nations in Europe – is providing cooperation assistance.
Poslka Pomoc: the Polish aid program that the media does not talk about
The Polska Pomoc (Polish Aid), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, is an organization that aims to provide humanitarian aid and also help the development of democracy, education, civil society and human rights in the countries receiving the aid. It is a program that you will rarely see anything in the media, especially those that present Poland as a country determined to isolate itself from the world.
The Polska Pomoc has a multi-year cooperation program 2016-2020 which states that it is its priority to allocate aid to four European countries (Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and to other countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Burma, Senegal and Tanzania, as well as the territories Palestinians. In addition to that, the Polska Pomoc also finances cooperation programs in other countries such as Albania, Armenia, Bosnia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam, as well as Australia (to several countries in Oceania). To this we must add the Polish military contingents that provide security, help and training to various countries, with military missions in places like Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Bosnia and Mali. After reading this, does Poland still seem like a xenophobic and unsupportive country?
The mail subscription service to Contando Estrelas will allow you to receive in your mailbox a daily email with the new entries published in this blog. It is a free service provided by Feedburner. Once you have entered your email in this box and press the "submit" button, you will receive a confirmation email in your mailbox to activate your subscription.