Poland critical of EU policy on taking in migrants

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, center, listens to a parliamentary debate on a vote to dismiss him, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, as Deputy Interior Minister Jaroslaw Zielinski, left, and head of the secret services Mariusz Kaminski sit in front. The vote failed. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s prime minister on Wednesday cited the attack in Manchester in which a Polish couple died to reinforce her government’s opposition to a European Union plan to share migrants.

Beata Szydlo spoke ahead of a parliament vote in which the opposition sought in vain to oust Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

She praised Macierewicz, saying he wants a strong army capable of opposing threats that include terrorism.

Citing security reasons, her populist government is rejecting EU pressure for Poland to take in a number of migrants, even at the price of facing sanctions. The previous government, in 2015 agreed to take in up to 10,000 refugees fleeing armed conflict, but Szydlo’s team reversed that decision.

Szydlo said Poland “will not participate in the Brussels elites’ folly.”

She said Poland is extending aid to people in refugee camps in the Middle East.

Concerning the attack in which the Polish couple died, orphaning two daughters, she asked: “Where are you headed, Europe? Rise from your knees and from your lethargy, or you will be crying over your children every day.”

She gave her support to Macierewicz’s steps to reorganize the armed forces by arguing that Europe should decide “whether we want politicians, who say that we need to get used to the attacks and who call terrorist attacks ‘incidents,’ or whether we want politicians who are strong, who see the threat and fight them, like Antoni Macierewicz.”