Poland won't accept migrant relocation mechanism, PM says

Polish PM Tusk and France's President Macron meet with German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin

WARSAW (Reuters) -Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday Poland will not accept a European Union immigrant relocation mechanism despite the European Parliament's approval of legislation meant to curb migration into the continent.

European lawmakers voted earlier on Wednesday on a revamp of the bloc's migration system to cut the length of time for security and asylum procedures, and increase returns of migrants to reduce unwanted immigration from the Middle East and Africa, a high priority on the EU's agenda.

"We will find ways so that even if the migration pact comes into force in roughly unchanged form, we will protect Poland against the relocation mechanism," Tusk told reporters.

He added that EU countries needed to focus on protecting their own borders.

Poland had previously argued it should be exempt from the so-called solidarity mechanism in the new legislation as it has helped and taken in the largest number of Ukrainian refugees since Russia's invasion of the country in 2022.

Migration has been a hot-button issue in the EU since more than a million people - mostly Syrian refugees - arrived across the Mediterranean in 2015, catching the bloc unprepared amid scenes of chaos and suffering.

More than 46,000 people have entered the EU so far this year outside of regular border crossings, according to U.N. data, which also estimates 400 people perished while attempting to get in.

After approval by the European Parliament, the legislation needs to be rubber-stamped this month by member states. They would then have two years to implement it.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Marek Strzelecki; editing by Mark Heinrich and Deepa Babington)