Europe

'Come back to Poland' says deputy prime minister

Mateusz Morawiecki

The deputy Polish prime minister says he would like to see Poles in the UK go back to Poland.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight Mateusz Morawiecki said it would be "a great day for Poland" if all those living abroad came home.

He said he expects Poles will stop migrating within the next 5-7 years, as wages in the country increase.

The rate of migration has already slowed, with Polish salaries now at 70% of the EU average, he said.

"I would like those Poles to come back," said Mr Morawiecki.

"I would welcome all Polish people who went abroad. If only they could come back, it would be a great day for Poland."

The deputy prime minister said he was "very much concerned" at the possibility of the UK voting to leave the EU in a referendum in June.

"I hope that Great Britain will stay as part of the European Union, because times are not easy," he said.

"We have some geopolitical turbulence around us - in the Ukraine and in the refugee problem - and it's better to deal with these collectively."

He said if he UK does vote to leave, Poland would remain "a firm pillar of the European Union argument", and would resist any possible "domino effect".

Mr Morawiecki said he supports a proposed deal with Turkey aimed at resolving the migrant crisis.

The deal would see all migrants travelling to Greece from Turkey sent back.

In return the EU might offer Turkey incentives, including financial aid and visa-free access to Schengen countries.

He said Poland had agreed to take 7,000 refugees from Syria and the Middle East, but any more would be a stretch because of the situation in Ukraine.

"In Poland we have a very specific situation because of the war at our border in Ukraine," he said,

"The recent statistics presented by the Eurostat [say] we actually have 355,000 refugees... not only refugees but migrant workers."

"We feel that we already participate in smoothing the situation - in calming down the situation at our borders."

Watch the full interview with Deputy Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on BBC Newsnight at 22:30 GMT on 17 March, or catch up afterwards on iPlayer (UK only)

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