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Leader of ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski gestures during a Law and Justice party congress in Przysucha, Poland July 1, 2017. Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski via REUTERS(reuters_tickers)
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has a moral right to say 'no' to refugees, the country's most powerful politician said on Saturday.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), gave his views on immigration at a party convention in Przysucha, 100 km (60 miles) south of Warsaw.
"We have not exploited the countries from which these refugees are coming to Europe these days, we have not used their labour force and finally we have not invited them to Europe. We have a full moral right to say 'no'," Kaczynski said in a speech broadcast on television.
Last month the European Commission launched a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to take in asylum seekers, highlighting the feud within the 28-nation bloc over how to deal with migration.
Kaczynski, who has criticised the European Union's relocation schemes for migrants on many occasions, also said that the PiS could not be accused of being anti-European, as it backed Poland's joining the block in 2004 and now appreciates the inflow of EU funds.
"The fact that we appreciate them (the funds), does not mean that we have lost the right to various assessments, including those regarding the historical context," Kaczynski said, adding that Poland has never received any compensation for the losses it suffered during the Second World War.
During his 70-minute speech, the PiS leader suggested the government increase social spending if the economic situation allows. He also said there was a need to reduce the share of foreign capital in the media sector.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Sobczak; Editing by Stephen Powell)