The German government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has called on Poland to provide clarification regarding allegations of a visa-for-cash scheme operated by Polish officials. Scholz demanded transparency from Warsaw and also recommended implementing additional measures at the border with Poland and the Czech Republic to address the increasing number of migrants entering Germany through these countries.
During a rally in the German state of Hesse, Scholz expressed concern over the excessive issuance of visas to migrants from countries outside the EU by Polish authorities. He argued that such a high number of visas could potentially be misused. These remarks followed accusations made by Poland’s opposition party, the Civic Platform, against the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) for their alleged involvement in an illegal visa selling scheme through Polish consulates worldwide.
In response, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki dismissed the allegations as an exaggeration by Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk. However, Morawiecki did acknowledge the discovery of irregularities involving several hundred visas.
Meanwhile, Germany has announced its own measures to address the situation. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser revealed that her ministry was considering the implementation of temporary border controls at the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic to combat human trafficking. According to German media, the state of Brandenburg, which shares a border with Poland, has witnessed an increase in the number of illegal immigrants apprehended by the police. In August, an average of 35 individuals were apprehended daily, and by September, this number had risen to 57. Regional Interior Minister Michael Stuebgen emphasized the urgent need for stationary border controls and expressed his support for the federal government in this regard.
Speaking at another rally in Bavaria, Chancellor Scholz acknowledged the significant increase in new arrivals and placed responsibility on Warsaw for the issue. He stressed the importance of preventing migrants from simply passing through Poland and entering Germany without proper protocols, which would then require a discussion about Germany’s asylum policy.
The European Union (EU) has also taken notice of the situation. While the EU Commission refrained from commenting on whether it had received complaints from Germany, Anitta Hipper, commission spokesperson for home affairs, expressed concern over the alleged visa fraud. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has requested clarifications from the Polish government.
These developments occurred amidst warnings from the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrel. Borrel cautioned that immigration could become a “dissolving force” for the EU due to some member states’ reluctance to accept migrants from outside the Union. He further argued that certain EU countries with low demographic growth actually require an influx of migrants, creating a paradoxical situation.
In conclusion, Germany has called on Poland to address allegations of a visa-for-cash scheme and to clarify the situation. Berlin is also considering the implementation of temporary border controls to tackle the rising number of migrants arriving in Germany through Poland and the Czech Republic. The issue has drawn the attention of the EU Commission and has been met with warnings from EU leaders about the potential impact of immigration on the cohesion of the Union.