Wednesday, March 22, 2023
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The very Catholic (and xenophobic) rebellion of Poland and the Baltic countries

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Nacho Temiño. Journlist

Incredible but true. What has been called the refugee crisis in Europe has led to something that was previously unthinkable: the main topic of discussion in the media and on the streets of Poland and the Baltic republics is that they no longer fear a Russian invasion. That old fear, which has been fuelled by politicians and journalists for years, has been frozen along with the bad-very bad Vladimir Putin by a much more immediate threat: the arrival of thousands of Muslim refugees and the demands from Brussels that the European states accommodate those displaced within their territories.

A threat, because a significant part of everyone of these countries look at the arrival of refugees with concern, and a threat also because there are not a few who believe that the demands of Brussels threaten national sovereignty of States. Poland, for example, has ended up letting its arm be twisted and has agreed to accept 7,000 refugees, although initially it insisted that such contributions were voluntary and not mandatory. Yes, from Warsaw, they maintained the demand that these refugees preferably be Christians. What else would you expect?

Something similar is happening in the Baltic republics, whose position has been fluctuating in recent months, and that seems to have settled with quotas that force Lithuania to host more than 1,100 people, Latvia 770, and Estonia about 400.

If the thing seems clear in the Baltic States, we cannot say the same about Poland, where the October 25 general elections are to be held, with the nationalist Law and Justice party, close to the postulates of the Hungarian President Viktor Orbán, are favourites in the polls.

The latest opinion polls show that more than half of Poles reject that their country accommodates Muslim refugees, a climate of opinion that has become the focus of the campaign, and that explains Warsaw's initial increased resistance to the quota system proposed by Brussels. Openly support for the arrival of Muslim refugees could cost victory in the Polish elections, and no party wants to take that risk. In fact, last May and Law and Justice Party won the presidential election, and the new head of state, Andrzej Duda, has expressly rejected mandatory quotas, arguing that Poland already has enough to deal with the exodus of Ukrainians in recent months.

The quotas are a scandal

Here we must make a point, because even if it is true that the arrival of Ukrainians has greatly increased, these are regarded as economic migrants, also very welcomed by Polish companies who see a skilled workforce in them in many cases, and economic, always. In fact, of the more than 1,200 applications for asylum from Ukrainians in the first months of this year, none has been accepted. However, it is possible that a worsening of the war in Ukraine does



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