WARSAW (ChurchMilitant.com) - Poland's top diplomat is affirming his country's readiness to welcome migrants from European societies.
In an interview with Russian broadcaster RIA Novosti published Monday, Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski insisted his country is open to admitting migrants from Europe but not from North Africa or the Middle East.
"Poland is open for migration," he declared. "Last year, for instance, we issued 1,267,000 visas for Ukrainians. Half of these visas were work permit ... We are also open for migration not only from Ukraine but also from Belarus and other countries."
The foreign minister reinforced that it is his government's policy to admit migrants. But he added a caveat: Migration must be regulated, determined by a country's employment and demographic conditions.
Waszczykowski reiterated that Poland will not accept European Union (EU) demands to abide by the bloc's open-border policy.
"We do not want to implement the decision of the European Union taken in September of 2015," he emphasized, referring to Brussels' decision to establish migrant quotas for each member of the bloc. "We do not want to participate in the mandatory process of relocation of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa."
Waszczykowski's comments come during a period of unprecedented difficulty for the EU. Since 2009, the block has been battered by political and economic crisis, which has undermined its economic competitiveness and political cohesiveness.
Now in its third year, the migrant crisis has strained the E.U. further, prompting several members to reinstate border controls.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have responded to the flood of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East by refusing to comply with E.U. quota directives. For this, the E.U. has lodged formal complaints against the countries, and is threatening sanctions.
The controversy reflects a deeper debate about the nature, and future, of European identity.
In February, Czech President Miloš Zeman offered praise for "immigrants who come here to work and who have similar language and similar culture like ours. ..." He applauded the Czech Republic's Ukrainian and Vietnamese communities, pointing out that they are assimilating well and are appreciative of and contributive to Czech culture and society.
But Zeman blasted the migrant influx pressing in on his country, suggesting that even moderate Muslim migrants could easily be radicalized. "Islam," he warned, is "a religion of death" and culturally incompatible with European civilization.
Earlier this month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned that E.U. political elite are colluding with Hungarian-American financier George Soros to deliberately de-Christianize Europe and transform it into a "mixed, Islamicized" society.
Hungarian prelate Gyula Marfi, archbishop of Veszprem, has sounded the alarm over the E.U.'s open-door policy, arguing that it is destabilizing European society.
"Jihad is a principle for Muslims that means they must expand," said Marfi. "The earth must become dar al-Islam, that is, Islamic territory, by introducing Shariah — Islamic law."
"If we look around us at architecture, the arts, literature or music," he continued, "we find everywhere that the most determining values are born from the Christian faith. If we throw this all away there will be nothing left, and our culture will lose its meaning."
Poland in 2017 is notable not only for its outspokenness against Islamization, but for its public affirmation of Christianity.
Last November, the country's bishops gathered with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Church of Divine Mercy in Krakow. There, in a ceremony broadcast across the nations, they formally recognized Jesus Christ as King of Poland.
Together, the bishops implored:
We profess in face of God and Earth, that we need your rule. We profess, that you and only you have holy rights to us that never expired. Therefore with humility we bend our heads to you, the Lord of the Universe, and we recognize your rule over Poland and our whole nation, that lives in the motherland and away in the wide world. Hereby. Poland in the 1,050th anniversary of its baptism, solemnly recognizes the rule of Jesus Christ.
In January, the country's parliament followed with an official resolution, honoring Mary as Queen and Protector of Poland and recognizing "the special importance of Marian devotion for our homeland" in its religious, social, cultural and patriotic aspects.