Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, sought to distance himself from the hard-line anti-migrant views of leaders in his native Poland, saying he would never speak about migrants the way they do.
Tusk’s comments late Thursday came after he set off a debate earlier in the week by saying the EU’s quota system for resettling migrants has been ineffective and divisive. The comment angered Italy and Greece, where tens of thousands of migrants are in camps hoping to be resettled elsewhere in the Europe. But his words were welcomed in Poland, with the new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, saying that Tusk was starting to speak about migration “like Poland does.”
Tusk disputed that. He said, “I will always want to help those who protect Europe, but I will never go over to the side of those who talk about other people with contempt or disrespect.”
Poland’s ruling party often depicts the mostly Muslim arrivals as threats to the country’s security and to its Christian identity. The party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has even said they carry “parasites and protozoa” that threaten native Europeans. [AP]