EU puts pressure on Poland over visa issue

As of: September 20, 2023 3:15 p.m

Have Polish consulates illegally issued visas, including Schengen visas? The EU and Germany want to know this in more detail and are demanding clarification from the government in Warsaw. She rejected the allegations.

The EU Commission and the Federal Government have urged Poland to clarify the affair surrounding possible visa fraud. EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson called for “clarifications” in a letter to the Polish authorities and set a deadline of October 3, a Commission spokeswoman said. The Interior Commissioner asked Warsaw a series of detailed questions about this. The EU Commission called the allegations of fraud and corruption “very worrying.” There is a fear of a violation of EU law.

The government in Warsaw rejected the allegations as “absurd”. Nevertheless, the visa scandal is putting the right-wing conservative Polish government under massive pressure just weeks before the parliamentary elections in October. Polish officials are said to have illegally issued thousands to hundreds of thousands of visas, especially in Asia and Africa, in exchange for payment. These are said to have included Schengen visas. The EU Commission called the allegations of fraud and corruption “very worrying.”

Federal Government expects “quick clarification”

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser also demanded “a quick and complete clarification,” as a ministry spokesman said. Faeser spoke to her Polish counterpart Mariusz Kaminski on the phone on Tuesday. The Polish ambassador Dariusz Pawlos had previously been asked to speak to the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

According to the ministry spokesman, the federal government expects information about the timing and number of visas issued as well as the nationalities of the recipients. Questions were also asked about countermeasures from the Polish government. “The discussions on this will continue,” emphasized the spokesman.

Network for smuggling via consulates?

According to Polish media reports, the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw is at the center of the scandal. A deputy minister was therefore suspended. He is said to have set up an illegal network to smuggle migrants from Asia and Africa through the Polish consulates. External companies are said to have been paid for the smuggling.

With the help of Schengen visas, the smuggled people could theoretically get to Germany or other member countries. According to government information, the federal police had recently intensified their controls on the German-Polish border.

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