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Poland ready to take 2,000 refugees

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Poland ready to take 2,000 refugees

Poland has said it is prepared to accept 2,000 people as part of the EU plans to resettle refugees.

Deputy Interior Minister Piotr Stachańczyk said in Luxembourg that Poland had offered a thousand places for refugees to be resettled from camps outside the EU and a thousand for immigrants coming across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece.

At an informal meeting of interior ministers in Luxembourg, EU countries pledged a total placement of over 20,000 people from refugee camps outside the EU.

Several other countries will submit their offers in the coming days and another meeting is planned of foreign ministers on this issue on 20 July, the deputy minister said.

The number of refugees Poland would accept is lower than proposed in May by the European Commission. According to the original proposal, Brussels wanted Poland to take in 2,659 from Italy and Greece and 962 refugees from camps outside the EU.

At an EU summit in late June leaders decided that plans to resettle 60,000 refugees would not be based on quotas imposed by the European Commission, but on voluntary decisions of EU member states.

"We have spent a very busy last few weeks analysing the possibilities of our system - and not just about the acceptability of these people, but also how best to give them a path to integrate in Polish society,” Stachańczyk said.

According to the deputy minister, there is no guarantee that there will be the same number of refugees as places offered. "Especially in the case of the resettlement programme from camps outside the EU, which is voluntary," he added.

The plans are part of the new immigration policy strategy in the EU and are a response to the growing wave of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Southern EU countries have long appealed for solidarity and support in solving the problems of immigration.

According to the agreed plans, which are to be implemented over the next two years, the Italians will be able to send to other EU countries 24,000 immigrants and Greece 16,000. To facilitate this the European Commission intends to earmark an additional EUR 240 million, or EUR 6,000 per refugee. For resettlement of refugees from outside the EU the Commission will allocate EUR 53 million.

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