‘You are writing some of the darkest pages of Polish parliamentarism’ – Former foreign minister slams parliamentary committee on ‘visa scandal’

Former Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau accuses a parliamentary committee of tarnishing Polish parliamentarism with partisan investigations, amidst allegations of a visa issuing scandal he deems baseless

Prof. Zbigniew Rau, former Polish foreign minister.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

In a powerful speech, former foreign minister in the conservative PiS government, Zbigniew Rau, has chastised members of the investigative committee on visa issuing irregularities for bringing dark times for Polish parliamentarism with their partisan behavior.

Prof. Rau appeared before the investigative committee on June 4 and said that his original view that the visa irregularities scandal was a “cascade of fake news, defamation and lies” was justified and that in reality, there was no scandal at all. 

The former foreign minister told the committee that there was no issuing of hundreds of thousands of visas for bribes or illegal trading of visas at stalls outside of Polish embassies, and no corruption on the part of Polish diplomats. 

He noted that the prosecutors acting during the lifetime of the Law and Justice (PiS) government identified irregularities in the processing of 607 visas, of which 268 were actually issued. Seven people have been charged for attempting to corrupt officials. Rau also noted that the deputy foreign minister, Piotr Wawrzyk, was dismissed for lack of adequate supervision and has been charged.

“The Polish state and law enforcement acted in an exemplary manner,” concluded Rau. 

The former top diplomat also reminded committee members that the debate in the European Parliament on the visa issue was organized just weeks ahead of Poland’s parliamentary election, in contravention of the custom that the EU parliament does not discuss a member state’s business during that state’s last six weeks of an election campaign.

“The European Parliament did not behave in good faith,” said Rau, adding that EU diplomats had not challenged Poland on the visa issue at any stage. 

He therefore accused the then liberal opposition of a campaign of fake news, defamation and lies aimed at removing the PiS government from office and regretted that this campaign had received assistance from abroad.

Rau admitted that as an MP, he had voted for the establishment of the investigative committee in order for the matter to be fully investigated. Instead, he said he now believes, the committee has been used for blatant self-promotion by its members in advance of the European parliamentary election.

“In this political fervor, you are writing some of the darkest pages in the history of Polish parliamentarism,” he concluded. 

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