When the EU demanded Poland accept migrants from the Middle East, the country’s government rejected the idea. The EU’s bureaucrats and globalists were incensed. The Poles insisted they were already accepting migrants from Ukraine, and they preferred these migrants anyway.
The cultures of Poland and Ukraine are far closer than those of say, Poland and Syria. Ukrainians fleeing the war and heading into Poland make for an easy assimilation. Also, their proximity to home makes returning after the end of the war much easier than it would be for Syrians or Iraqis. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Poland issued more first-time residence permits to non-EU citizens than any other EU nation in 2017, with 86% of them going to Ukrainians, in the latest available European migration statistics. Those Ukrainians accounted for 18.7% of all newcomers to the entire EU.
The influx, which continues unabated, is bringing a demographic transformation with long-term implications for Poland. The country of 38 million had virtually no ethnic minorities since World War II, when its huge Jewish community was largely wiped out by the Nazis and its borders were shifted westward, leaving ethnically mixed eastern regions in Soviet Ukraine and Belarus.
The exodus also poses challenges for Ukraine, where mass emigration has become a campaign issue ahead of March 31 presidential elections. Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister challenging President Petro Poroshenko, named this outflow as the second biggest danger facing Ukraine after the Russian military onslaught.
“How much time do we have to close our eyes to the fact that a million Ukrainians leave the country each year? Three, two, five years? How much creative class do we still have left before we allow them all to leave?” she said at a security conference in Munich in February.
Most other candidates agree on the need to bring Ukrainian workers back home—something that won’t happen until the country’s economy starts to recover.
Poland faces a shortage of labor—and the country’s conservative government has favored Ukrainians because most are Christian, unlike Muslim immigrants from Syria or Afghanistan.
“In Poland, there is a general consensus that we don’t want the kind of postcolonial Western style of immigration,” said Radoslaw Sikorski, a former parliament speaker and foreign minister who backs the more liberal opposition. “People think Christians are all right, and non-Christians are not all right, Christians will assimilate and the non-Christians won’t. It’s that simple.”
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