Last week British Prime Minister's Press Office asked Polish Express to prepare a few questions which Theresa May could answer before meeting with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło on Monday. We decided to let our readers prepare these questions and we sent the best of them to the Prime Minister's Office. You'll find the answers below:
Polish Express: How do you want to reduce xenophobic incidents against Polish people? So far not much has been done as every week Polish Express receives calls about new hate crimes. Does your government do enough to tackle the problem of discrimination and xenophobia or does the government sweep it under the carpet?
Theresa May: I have been very clear that hate crime of any kind, directed against any community, race or religion, has absolutely no place in British society. We condemned the shameful and despicable attacks against Polish communities in the wake of the EU referendum result, and have taken action to deal with this very important issue. The number of attacks has fallen, and my Government will continue to give the police every support in their efforts to combat hate crime and protect Polish people in the UK. I very much look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Szydło to Downing Street on Monday, on her first bilateral visit to the UK since taking office. It will be an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen links between people in the UK and in Poland and to recognise the valuable contribution made by Poles to our country.
PE: Will all the Polish people already living in the UK be allowed to stay and work there after Brexit?
TM: I recognise that Poles currently living in the UK want to know whether they will retain their rights once the UK leaves the EU. As I said when I visited Warsaw in July, I want and expect to be able to guarantee the rights of Poles in the UK, as long as the rights of British citizens living across the EU are protected in return. And I have been clear that I want to see early agreement on this.
PE: What will the UK immigration policy look like in the next few years?
TM: The British people sent a clear message in the referendum that they want control on the number of people coming here from Europe. And once we have left the EU, we will of course regain that control, with the Government here in the UK able to make decisions on our immigration policy. That will enable us to pursue our aim of reducing net migration to sustainable levels – the tens of thousands – while continuing to attract the brightest and best to come and work in Britain.
PE: Do you agree that Polish workers are valuable for British economy?
TM: There are almost one million Poles in Britain, making an important contribution to our country. I look forward to meeting some of them on Monday, when I host a joint reception at Downing Street with Prime Minister Szydło. Our two countries enjoy a close and historic relationship, to which Britain attaches huge importance – and Polish people over many decades have made a valuable contribution to Britain.
PE: Do you know that Polish fighter pilots served in the RAF during the Battle of Britain, making up the largest non-British contribution and having the highest ratio of enemy aircraft destroyed to their own? Many Poles living in the UK confront the past with the present and don't understand why they are not welcomed in Britain.
TM: Our bilateral relationship does indeed go back a long way and it is important that we never forget the Polish pilots who braved the skies alongside us in World War Two to stand up for freedom and democracy across Europe, while also making clear that Poles continue to be welcome in the UK today. We greatly value the contribution that they make in a number of industries and sectors.
Our two countries also remain the strongest of allies and, as I have said before, ours is a partnership that will endure long after the UK has left the European Union – indeed I want it become stronger. The summit on Monday – the first of its kind – marks the first step in forging those closer ties and I am convinced that the UK and Poland will be resolute and strategic partners in the years ahead.