Europe should wake up to "clash of civilizations" warns Polish minister

Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak: “This ends tragically. We are dealing with a clash of civilizations... it is a problem for the whole of Europe"

Polish interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak
Polish interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak

Poland’s interior minister has warned that Europe faces a “clash of civilizations” after a van was intentionally driven into crowds in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Thursday, killing 13, in yet another attack inspired or planned by the Islamic State.

Poland’s interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that the resettling of migrants was encouraging millions of people to come to Europe. “This ends tragically. We are dealing with a clash of civilizations. This must be said outright and it is a problem for the whole of Europe," he added.

Błaszczak said the attack highlighted the flaws in the EU’s system of relocating migrants. Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told state broadcaster TVP Info that Poland is a safe country, adding: "In Poland we do not have Muslim communities which are enclaves... which are a natural support base for Islamic terrorists."

“Europe should wake up,” he added.

Poland has refused to take part in an EU plan to resettle African and Middle Eastern migrants from camps in Italy and Greece, arguing that the programme did not solve the problem at its origin and was a threat to security.

Błaszczak said on Thursday: "We will not succumb to this pressure [from the European Commission], because this is about the security of Poland and Poles."

Defiance in the face of militant Islamism was a common response to Thursday's attack, with world leaders expressing their solidarity with Spain as the country began three days of mourning. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy and Spain’s King Felipe observed a minute’s silence in Barcelona’s main square. Defiant crowds chanted in Catalan “I am not afraid.”

Rajoy told reporters: “This country has suffered terrorist attacks during many years, attacks against people’s lives, against their freedoms and rights — the most important thing we, as people, have. We won that battle, and I am absolutely convinced that we will win this one too.”

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