Poland doubled its humanitarian aid in 2017

Poland doubled its humanitarian aid in a year to EUR 180 mln as the country is pursuing rapprochement with the European Union over its migration policies.

The government representative for humanitarian aid, Beata Kempa, said on Wednesday that Poland allocated PLN 770 million (EUR 180 mln) in 2017 to help Syrian refugees in hosting countries such as Lebanon and Jordan and also to assist war-stricken countries such as Syria and Iraq.

“Compared to 2015, humanitarian funds have been increased sixfold, while in relation to 2016, they doubled,” said Ms Kempa.

After two years of debate with the EU over migration policies, environmental practices and judicial reforms, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who took office in December 2017 has made progress on defusing tensions with Brussels.

Poland, the biggest recipient of EU funds, is at risk of losing billions of euros if disputes are not settled.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has steadfastly refused European Union migration quotas for accepting asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa. However, Poland maintains the recent immigration of between 1.5 million and two million Ukrainians after 2014 Maidan uprising and the ensuing conflicts with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine is evidence of its willingness to take in newcomers.

“Here, in Poland, it’s we who decide who will come to Poland and who will not,” said PM Morawiecki on Tuesday along with his ally Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has made political currency over the past three years out of opposition to immigration.