Poland refuses to accept refugees after Paris attacks

Poland's incoming European minister says that new government doesn't see 'political possibilities' to implement previous government's commitment to accept 4,500 refugees from Italy and Greece 

Poland's incoming EU affairs minister Konrad Szymanski
Poland's incoming EU affairs minister Konrad Szymanski

Poland has said that it cannot accept migrants under new EU relocate quotas after the attacks in Paris on Friday, in a move that could seriously undermine Europe’s refugee policy.

In a commentary published in the right-leaning news portal wPolityce.pl on Saturday, Poland's European affairs minister designate Konrad Szymanski said that his incoming government disagrees with Poland's commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of refugees.

“In the face of the tragic acts in Paris, we do not see the political possibilities to implement [this],” he wrote.

"The [EU Council] decision is valid for all EU countries, but its implementation is very hard to imagine today," Szymanski said in a separate interview for RMF FM radio. "We have to wait for the EU Court of Justice, for Brussel's reaction."

Szymanski will take up his ministerial position on Monday as part of a new government formed by last month's election winner, the conservative and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Poland in September broke ranks with its ex-communist partners from the 'Visegrad group' - Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - by backing an EU plan to distribute 120,000 refugees from Italy and Greece across the 28-nation bloc.

Under the plan, agreed by the previous government, Poland was to take in 4,500 refugees, over and above some 2,000 it has already accepted.

The refugee crisis was a key issue in the election campaign, with PiS strongly critical of the government's decision.

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks in which at least 127 people were killed, and French President Francois Hollande has deemed the attacks “a cowardly act of war”.

Poland's incoming Prime Minister Beata Szydlo lit a candle at the French Institute in the southern city of Kracow. At a briefing, she refused to comment on the migrant issue, adding that she and her government will do everything "for the Polish nation to feel safe."