WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s president on Thursday threw his support behind a government decision to renege on a deal to accept thousands of refugees, blaming security concerns raised by Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels.
The move could prompt similar decisions by other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, many of which have protested — or, like Hungary and Slovakia, sued over — the European Union’s plan to divide some 120,000 refugees among member countries.
The plan is part of efforts to help alleviate Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa arrive on the continent in recent months.
Opponents of migration have warned that extremists could slip in along with the flood of refugees making their way to the continent. However, the suicide-bombers in the attacks in Brussels, brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were Belgian-born.
Poland’s decision could also negatively affect a deal European leaders struck last week with Turkey that is aimed at limiting the influx of migrants to Europe and better ensuring that those who arrive really might be entitled to asylum because of danger in their countries, rather than people looking for better economic opportunities.
Poland’s conservative, anti-migrant government had grudgingly confirmed the previous government’s commitment to take in 7,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea over the next two years. At the same time, the officials stressed that permissions to settle would be preceded by meticulous security and identity checks.