It may or not be a coincidence that, right after starting to break away from the EU and US directives in regards to Ukraine, the conservative government of Poland finds itself involved in a BIG scandal, right in the run-up to the October Legislative Elections.
For a few weeks, the government has been facing accusations by opposition over a system in which migrants received expedited Polish visas without proper checks – after paying a hefty fee, goes without saying. In this way, arrivals to Poland crossed into other EU open borders countries. Migrants paid up to $5,000 to consulates and private companies to fast-track visa applications.
Poland opposes EU plans to send migrants from Mediterranean countries to other member states.
Immigration has, of course, been high on the agenda in Europe in recent weeks, with Italy calling for EU help after 8,000 migrants arrived on the island of Lampedusa in three days, and even floating around the idea of enacting a naval blockade against migration.
“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday called on the Polish government to clarify allegations about a cash-for-visas deal for migrants that has roiled Polish politics, as a debate about immigration heats up in Germany.”
Scholz’ remarks come just days after sources said Germany summoned the Polish ambassador, and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke to her Polish counterpart on the topic.
“Poland’s government has written to the European Union’s security commissioner to say that the scandal was an exaggerated “media fact” timed to discredit the ruling nationalists in a tough battle for re-election next month.
‘The visa scandal that is taking place in Poland needs to be clarified’, Scholz said on Saturday at an event. ‘I don’t want people from Poland to simply be waved through’, he added.
Scholz hinted that Germany could take steps to control the border with Poland.”
Previously, the European Union had asked Poland to clear up allegations of widespread visa fraud.
The European gave Warsaw two weeks to respond to detailed questions, while the Polish government said allegations about extensive fraud were ‘absurd’.
“The Polish government has admitted that hundreds of visas were issued illegally but has disputed claims by the opposition that the number was much higher.”
The ruling ‘Law and Justice’ party has a tough stance on immigration, so the opposition has used the scandal to suggest the government’s policies in curbing immigration are failing.
“Amid acrimonious campaigning, the opposition has called it ‘the biggest scandal we have faced in the 21st Century’ and ‘corruption at the highest levels of government’.
[…] Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk was sacked at the end of August after the allegations emerged.”
The foreign ministry is under audit, and Poland’s anti-corruption bureau has carried out a raid on the ministry.
“Law and Justice is seeking an unprecedented third term in office and while the party is currently leading in polls, it is unclear if they can win the outright majority they need to govern in next month’s parliamentary elections.”
Last year, Poland completed a 187km steel barrier along its border with Belarus, and deployed thousands of soldiers to stop migrants from crossing into its territory.