Eastern European member states of the European Union could see some of their EU subsidies cut if they keep refusing to take in refugees, Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Oct. 26.
Dijsselbloem was responding to a question about the sweeping election victory of the conservative Law and Justice party in Poland, known by its Polish acronym PiS, Dutch media reported.
The PiS party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynsky, fervently opposes offering shelter to refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria. The previous Polish government, voted out in Sunday's election, agreed to voluntarily take on 4,500 refugees according to a pan-European distribution scheme which would see approximately 160,000 refugees spread across EU member states.
Like other countries in Eastern Europe, Poland annually receives billions of euros in subsidies from the European Union, distributed via structural funds. According to Dijsselbloem, Poland's stance on refugees could endanger that money flow.
Dijsselbloem said that Poland should show something in return for Europe's largesse. "And if not, we could take a part of the EU's budget that flows to countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in the form of subsidies and use that money to help Turkey pay for the shelter it provides to refugees within its borders," Dijsselbloem was quoted as saying.
"You're in the European Union for better and for worse," the Eurogroup chairman added. "You can't just enjoy the benefits and walk away from the disadvantages when it suits you."