Dismissing 50 ambassadors is an act of revenge, says former Polish foreign minister

Source: Witold Waszczykowski/Facebook.
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The decision by Donald Tusk’s government to dismiss 50 ambassadors is an abuse of the constitution and a stain on Poland’s diplomatic service, warns the former conservative foreign minister of Poland, Witold Waszczykowski.

“This is revenge. What is happening is something out of a third world country rather than a NATO and EU one,” Witold Waszczykowski said while commenting on Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski’s decision to dismiss the ambassadors wholesale, without the president’s consent. Sikorski decided to end the mission of in fact more than 50 ambassadors and to withdraw several candidacies submitted by the previous management of the ministry. 

“Sikorski does not have 50 diplomats at his disposal capable of taking over such a large number of embassies within three to four months, even if the procedures were accelerated,” said Waszczykowski. The former top Polish diplomat believes that the reason for this move is the desire to purge the diplomatic corps ahead of the EU presidency in 2025 and before the presidential elections in Poland.

Waszczykowski explained that appointing ambassadors to diplomatic missions is a complicated procedure, involving the prime minister, the president, and the parliament’s foreign affairs committee. All have to give their approval. He underlined that the dismissal of the ambassador must also be agreed with the offices of the prime minister and the president. Appointments of ambassadors are discretionary, but it is generally accepted that an ambassador stays at the post for approximately four years. 

The lack of consultation with the president may lead to a whole score of charge d’affaires appointed to head embassies, which will lower the status of a given embassy in the eyes of the host country, and this is something unwelcome for the stability of foreign policy, argued Waszczykowski. 

He noted that he tolerated ambassadors to the EU, NATO and the U.S. despite their hostile attitude to the conservative government, including when the NATO summit beckoned in 2016. They then only made some changes afterward, and they were fully legal, as they were done with the consultation of the president, prime minister and parliament. During that time, he replaced 60 ambassadors overall, but the process took two years, between 2016 and 2018, and there were no wholesale purges. 

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