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Refugee attitudes - Poland

Poland is notoriously known as one of the European countries most likely to reject #asylumseekers. The current government, Law and Justice, which has been in power since 2015, rejected the #EU migration management cooperation policies. The government also developed a negative narrative around the topic of #migration and #refugee, which shaped Polish citizens’ understanding of the phenomenon.

A survey conducted in 2015 (indeed, a particularly significant year for refugee situation management in Europe) by CBOS showed that 53% thought Poland should not accept refugees from #Africa and the #MiddleEast as a part of the EU refugee quota system. A justification that is constantly brought up is that Poland is already receives refugees #Ukraine and #Belarus, and that the EU should not feel entitled to require any further contribution from Poland.

However, some positive changes in Poles’ general attitude towards refugees have been recently reported in a survey conducted by Kantar on behalf of #UNHCR in February 2021. In particular, 75% agreed that Poland should protect the weakest individuals in our society regardless of their origins or nationality; 77% agreed that Poland should support those who are fleeing with humanitarian solidarity; 63% agreed that refugees can bring positive contributions to the domestic labour market, while only 21% stated that they are will take Poles’ jobs.

This change may be explained as a consequence of the weaning of the ruling party’s populist rhetoric based on #xenophobia and fed by disinformation. Another possible explanation is also that during #COVID19 everyone was experiencing the same level of stress and crises and therefore attitudes and helping intentions were more favourable.

Taking into account also the current pushback practices occurring on the Polish-Belarusian border, and the increasing public help, the future we may expect awareness raising in Poland to continue orientating public opinion towards more humanised and true-to-life attitude towards the refugee situation.

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