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Aug 29, 9:18 AM EDT

Poland: Germany wrong to criticize anti-migrant EU partners

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AP Photo/Alik Keplicz

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland says German Chancellor Angela Merkel is wrong to criticize European Union partners who are refusing to give refugee protection to Muslims.

Poland's deputy foreign minister, Konrad Szymanski, said in an interview Monday on state-run Radio Three that countries such as Poland which reject EU-negotiated refugee quotas are in line with the public mood.

Szymanski was responding to Merkel's criticism of EU countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, that have rebuffed EU plans to share responsibility across the 28-nation bloc for sheltering people fleeing war and poverty.

"I believe it is harmful to Europe and is already bringing far-reaching opposition," he said, adding that such views were common in Western Europe as well. He singled out Germany and The Netherlands, saying that people there "feel less and less safe."

Szymanski said forcing migrant quotas on EU nations violates their right to decide their own national policies and threatens European integration.

Last week Merkel discussed migration issues with the leaders of Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, nations that are protesting the EU refugee quota system. A Sept. 16 EU summit is to discuss immigration, among other themes.

A private foundation brought some 300 Syrian Christians to Poland last year, but most have since left for Germany.

Poland insists the EU should do more to stop the sources of migration, which are the long-running war in Syria and conflicts in Africa, Asia and other parts of the Middle East. It urges more humanitarian aid sent to refugees in camps in Turkey, hoping they can return home when situation allows.

Last year Poland committed to accepting 10,000 refugees, but backed out following terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, quoting security concerns.

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