Merkel got her way on Muslim migrants by browbeating smaller countries, but there's a price to pay.
Poland's conservative opposition is poised to win Sunday's general election, according to final polls, which suggest its welfare promises and anti-refugee rhetoric have helped clinch a hefty lead over the governing centrists.Everyone knew this was coming.
Most polls show PiS as the frontrunner on more than 30 percent, while PO is second with just over 20 percent. The PiS scored between 32 and 40 percent support among voters in surveys released Friday, well ahead of the 24-28 percent for the PO of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.
Distrustful of the European Union and an advocate of a strong NATO hand in dealing with Moscow, PiS opposes joining the 'euro zone' in the near future, promises more welfare spending on the poor and wants banks subject to new taxation.
It also opposes the relocation of migrants from the Middle East to Poland, arguing they could threaten Poland's Catholic way of life - raising the prospect of tensions with the EU on the issue.
Poland, to the unhappy surprise of several of its allies in the region, decided to go along with Germany and other Western nations in approving the quotas on Tuesday, despite strong resistance from Polish voters and a bitter parliamentary campaign in which the longtime governing party, Civic Platform, is highly vulnerable.
But the biggest political price may be paid by Civic Platform, Poland’s governing center-right party, which is running well behind the chief right-wing opposition party, Law and Justice, in polling for the Oct. 25 parliamentary vote. The decision to support the Brussels plan has given ammunition to anti-immigrant voices and threatened Poland’s standing among its regional neighbors.
Leaders of the right-wing opposition, Mr. Smolar said, have been “using the migrant crisis as the main battlefield for attacking the ruling party for weeks, and now it will be that much easier.”
Indeed, the opposition’s candidate for prime minister, Beata Szydlo, described Poland’s acceptance of the plan as “scandalous.”
“The decision is contrary to the interest of national security and has been made against the will of Poles,” Ms. Szydlo said.
Now Merkel will have helped Euroskeptics and opponents of Muslim migration in Poland. And not just in Poland. Apparently Germany's leader still hasn't learned that forcing other countries to do your will, will backfire.
Kaczynski was accused by some Polish media this month of fanning racism when he said migrants fleeing war in the Middle East and Africa may bring new diseases and parasites to Poland.If the media doesn't like it, it only has its own insistence on shoving Muslim migrants into Poland to blame.
“We have to find out if information about some kind of [EU] deal to bring 100,000 Muslims to Poland is true”, he said..
“We’ve already seen the emergence of dangerous illnesses long absent in Europe; cholera on the Greek isles, dysentery in Vienna, various types of parasites inside these people,” Kaczynski told reporters on Monday. “Such things may be harmful here.”