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Poland, Hungary leaders persist with anti-migrant policies

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The leaders of Poland and Hungary insisted Friday that they will stick to their anti-migrant policies in defiance of the European Union and warnings of sanctions. The refusal by either government to back a EU plan designed to ease the migration pressure on countries such as Greece and Italy has prompted the bloc's executive Commission to open up infringement procedures against the pair.

Following a meeting with his Polish counterpart in Warsaw, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, said EU members must accept the fact that neither his country nor Poland want to be "immigrant countries."

"I told the prime minister that I don't see the situation as encouraging ... because instead of mutual acceptance, the immigrant countries want to force us to be like them, to be immigrant countries, too," Orban said.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo echoed Orban's position and said security issues were the main considerations, and that their policies are "right." Orban also met with the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's leading politician despite not holding a government post.

In a separate reproach of the EU, Szydlo accused the bloc of being politically motivated in criticizing her government's overhaul of the judiciary as being a threat to the rule of law. She told a pro-government, Catholic radio station that EU leaders have no authority to assess the changes in Poland's court system, and blamed Poland's opposition for having inspired EU censure.

The European Commission has threatened Poland with potentially limiting its powers as a member. Szydlo said in its criticism the Commission "often exceeds its powers and is guided by political, not factual, motives."

At their briefing Orban vowed Hungary will side with Poland which, he said, was being threatened with a move akin to "an Inquisition procedure."

Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed

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