European Union all talk in helping refugees

A Polish bishop is accusing the European Union (EU) of being ‘all talk’.

With Poland in the middle of a huge refugee crisis, Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko is asking “where’s the support?”

Millions of Ukrainian refugees have been pouring across Poland’s border since the 24 February Russian invasion.

There’s been no support at all from the EU and other member countries, Zadarko says.

Zadarko, who chairs the Polish bishops’ council for migration, tourism and pilgrimages, says systemic and long-term help is needed.

Just why this should be is a mystery to him.

He also sees an urgent need for Poland to get organised to deal with what is becoming an established problem.

“It is necessary to create a systemic, long-term and structural aid secured legally and financially — a programme based on a coherent migration policy,” he says.

Some facts

  • Since 24 February, over six million people have fled Ukraine. Thousands arrive each day.
  • Over three million refugees have sought sanctuary in Poland, which has 38 million citizens.
  • This is Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
  • Poland has been a member of the EU since 2004. The EU includes 27 member states.

Aid from the Catholic Church

“The scale of humanitarian aid provided by the Catholic Church in Poland is enormous” says Zadarko.

“There is no parish that would not join in the aid — whether by accepting refugees or organising collections of money and in-kind donations.

“As the Church, we strive to understand and fulfil the words of Jesus: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’”

He went on: “The whole society is involved in helping. We all feel the same desire to help the poor and the needy.”

International aid volunteers

“It is important to note the very large participation of volunteers from all over the world, especially at the reception point,” says Zadarko.

Everyone has become a volunteer in Poland since February, he says. At the same time he is concerned Poland still lacks a professionally organised volunteer network.

It’s almost three months after the outbreak of war, after all.

“Spontaneous help, which has become today a formula, even a brand of our form of assistance, is good for a short time,” he says.

“We can appeal for solidarity and perseverance in this help which is very much needed today, because the natural condition of society is weakening and exhausting, it encounters the obstacle of burnout and fatigue.”

What’s needed though is long-term support for Ukrainian refugees living in Poland, he stresses.

“We will continue to appeal not to forget about those who are already among us today, but also about the thousands of people who reach us every day from Ukraine.”


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News category: World.

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