Conservative Governments in Poland and Hungary Sanctioned While Helping Refugees

Poland and Hungary are racing to cope with the largest refugee crisis seen in Europe since the Second World War, but that hasn’t stopped the European Union from imposing new sanctions on the two countries. The European Parliament voted to impose immediate sanctions both governments, rather than moving to allocate the funds and supplies they desperately need to support the millions of refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine.

Poland and Hungary punished by EU

Sanctions  against Hungary and Poland had been planned before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the vote confirmed that they would proceed in spite of the war.

The conservative governments of both countries are accused of attacking democracy and eroding the rule of law, something which apparently required immediate action from the EU.

Regardless of the merits of the planned sanctions, voting to enact them now is a stab in the back for the people of Poland and Hungary, who are bearing the brunt of the Ukrainian refugee crisis and are closest to the war.

The European Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority to impose the sanctions following a failed appeal earlier this month.

While that vote was being held, both countries were working feverishly to help the massive tide of Ukrainian women and children fleeing from the fighting.

Ukraine’s neighbors lack the economic strength of some other member states and require urgent aide from them, not new punishments.

Unfortunate timing

This all raises questions about why Poland and Hungary would wish to remain in the European Union in the future.

The formerly communist countries have benefitted economically from the EU more than most, but recent years have seen increasing hostility directed at their political decisions.

Hungary and Poland have preferred to encourage population growth with pro-life and pro-family policies, rather than opening their borders to economic migrants from the rest of the world.

If other European countries feel that Warsaw and Budapest have not contributed their fair share to dealing with migrant headaches in the past, their handling of the current crisis should more than compensate.

Hungary has announced that it will not be sending weapons to Ukraine and Poland has seemingly not made up its mind yet, but both are fully committed to helping the refugees.

The decision to ignore these actions and proceed with the sanctions vote shows that European unity in response to this crisis is not nearly as solid as it could be.

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