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Poland Weighs Bringing Refugees In for Medical Treatment

Protesters hold an anti-refugee banner during a rally, organized by far-right, nationalist groups, to mark the 99th anniversary of Polish independence in Warsaw, Nov. 11, 2017.

The Polish government is debating the idea of bringing Syrian refugees to Poland for medical treatment, a high-ranking senator said Friday.

Poland's conservative government has been at odds with European Union leaders for refusing to accept any migrants under an EU relocation plan intended to ease the pressure on traditional landing spots such as Greece and Italy.

But following a change of prime ministers this month and after the EU recently opened a censuring process over some other government policies, Poland has started discussing bringing refugees in for treatment, within the so-called "humanitarian corridors.''

Conservative Deputy Senate Speaker Adam Bielan said Friday that a "discussion on the subject is taking place within the government.''

'Temporary aid'

"I believe that we can consider temporary aid to those most needy, elderly people, small children, especially Christians,'' Bielan said on TVN24, stressing he was not speaking for the government.

He said it should be outlined upfront how long patients would require treatment, how long they would stay in Poland and "what happens when they are ready to return to Syria.''

After assuming power two years ago, the government led by Poland's Law and Justice party cited security concerns in going back on a promise by its liberal predecessor to take 7,000 refugees from elsewhere in Europe. Poland's influential Catholic Church has criticized the revised stance.

Kornel Morawiecki, a senior Polish lawmaker and the father of the country's new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said earlier this week that accepting 7,000 refugees should not be a problem for Poland, a nation of almost 40 million people.

But he said any newcomers should be expected to adopt the ways of Poland.

"We could try to make them Poles,'' Kortnel Morawiecki said.