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    EC Investigates Allegations of Visa Bribery in Poland Amidst Controversy

    EC Vice-President Margaritis Schinas has revealed that the European Commission (EC) is actively engaged in discussions with Polish authorities regarding the allegations of visa bribery within Poland’s consulates. 

    These allegations have caused a significant stir, with the incumbent Polish government facing accusations of granting visas in exchange for illicit payments. The controversy, initially brought to light by the media, has become a focal point for the opposition, who are questioning the government’s commitment to stringent immigration policies while these allegations persist.

    In response to these developments, Schinas participated in a European Parliament debate dedicated to addressing visa corruption cases within EU member states. During the debate, he expressed deep concern over the alleged fraud and corruption within the Polish visa system. He stated, “The alleged cases of fraud and corruption in the Polish visa system are extremely worrying,” emphasizing that if third-country nationals had been granted free movement within the Schengen Area without adhering to the necessary procedures, it would constitute a violation of EU law.

    Schinas made it clear that the European Commission is closely coordinating with Polish authorities and expects a thorough investigation into these allegations, with appropriate actions taken if any wrongdoing is established. He stated, “The Commission is in close contact with the Polish authorities and expects them to investigate these violations seriously and address any wrongdoing, if and when established.”

    Responding to inquiries from the EC regarding irregularities in visa issuance, the Polish government maintained that the press’s allegations of hundreds of thousands of visas being involved were untrue. According to the National Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation focused on 268 cases of accelerated visa issuance, representing only a small fraction of all visas granted by Poland. Data from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that over a year and a half, Poland issued more than 500,000 work visas, primarily to citizens of Ukraine and Belarus. During this period, only 767 short-term Schengen visas for work purposes were issued.

    Furthermore, Poland informed the EC that charges had been filed against seven individuals for unauthorized influence over consular officials who had processed visa applications out of sequence. The Polish government asserted that all consulate activities were conducted in accordance with both national and European laws.

    The Polish government also stated that individuals granted visas had undergone thorough security checks by Poland’s special services to assess potential threats, particularly related to terrorism. These security assessments confirmed that the individuals did not pose a threat to Poland’s security.

    Additionally, the Polish Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) promptly initiated intensive operational activities upon receiving reports of possible irregularities in the visa issuance process. The EC was informed of these actions taken by the CBA.

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