Polish official warns of new wave of Ukraine refugees in winter

A Polish deputy interior minister has warned that Europe may experience a new wave of refugees from war-torn Ukraine this winter.

Podsekretarz stanu w MSWiA Bartosz Grodecki

Podsekretarz stanu w MSWiA Bartosz GrodeckiPAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

Bartosz Grodecki made the prediction in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP on Tuesday. 

He was speaking on the sidelines of a European conference on migration management in the Czech capital Prague.

‘Poland will bear the brunt of new wave of Ukraine refugees’

Grodecki told the PAP news agency that Russia’s “terrorist strikes” against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, coupled with the approaching winter, “may spark another wave of migration.”  

He added: “We have met with our Ukrainian counterparts and are preparing for this.”  

Grodecki said that “Poland will bear the brunt of this wave,” adding that refugee support would be organised by his interior ministry in cooperation with regional officials based on “tried and tested procedures.”

Meanwhile, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, told the Prague conference that there were three times more people than last year on the Balkan trail to Europe, the PAP news agency reported.

Poland’s Grodecki noted that the “migration processes encompass countries of origin, transit countries and destination countries.”

He said that European countries were currently “overwhelmed with migration flows” and the result could be “border checks, such as those taking place on the Czech-Slovak border.”

Grodecki stated: “If we introduce border controls, we’ll break one of the foundations of a common Europe, namely the passport-free Schengen zone.”

He added: “There won’t be a well-functioning Schengen zone without good management of migration, from start to finish, in the destination countries.”

Prague conference on migration management

During the two-day get-together in the Czech capital, dubbed the Prague Process Ministerial Conference on migration management, government officials also discussed issues such as the need to pool experience in refugee crisis management, officials told reporters.

Entitled „Migration Partnerships – Way Forward in Times of New Challenges,” the event began on Monday, bringing together representatives from international organisations and officials from nearly 50 countries, including European Union member states and the countries of the Eastern Partnership, the Western Balkans, Central Asia and Turkey, according to officials. 

Russia and Belarus were not invited to this year’s event, the PAP news agency reported. 

(pm/gs)

Source: PAPec.europa.euconsilium.europa.eu

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