The Polish government has announced its intention to hold a referendum on whether the country should accept “thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa” as part of a European Union relocation plan.
The referendum, which is provisionally planned for the same day as the parliamentary election on October 15, is seen as a move by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to appeal to its nationalist and conservative base and fend off the challenge from the opposition.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a video posted on social media on Sunday that the referendum question would be: “Do you support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa under the forced relocation mechanism imposed by the European bureaucracy?
The video also featured scenes of violence and crime allegedly committed by migrants in Western Europe, as well as a statement by PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who asked: “Do you want this to happen in Poland as well? Do you want to cease being masters of your own country?”
The referendum proposal is the latest sign of Poland’s defiance of the EU’s migration policy, which aims to share out responsibility for asylum seekers among member states. Poland, along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, has refused to take part in the scheme, arguing that it threatens their national security and sovereignty.