No chance for Poland to join US visa waiver program

US are going to lift visa in few weeks for some Central European countries including Slovakia but NOT for Poland.

Question:

What kind of reaction are you expecting in Poland if US will not abolish visa regime for Poland especially after Polish government agreed with US base?

Answer:

Tomasz Zarycki, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw

Thus, in my view no serious reaction to a new rejection of Polish requests to include our country in the visa waiver program will follow. Of course several politicians will, as usual make critical comments about the decision, or even call of “rethinking” of the Polish policy towards the US . This can in particular expected from politicians from the post-communist left, to lesser extent those from movement coalition (liberal PO and peasant PSL). President Lech Kaczynski and his brother Jaroslaw, the head of the Law and Justice party are currently the most staunch supporters of the Polish alliance with the US . For them the US missile base in not a question of bargain with the US , but a key element of Poland ’s geopolitical security worth paying high price. In such context the visa issue is minor. For the coalition politicians the military cooperation with the US (and even more so for the post-communists) is more a pragmatic issue. Thus they may react with a declarations of future reduction of military equipment purchases in America , but these will be probably general statements, rather than concrete decisions.

One may also add, that the visa problem currently concerns mostly inhabitants of the North-East and South-East peripheral regions. In a recent conversation with the US embassy employee I have been told that Polish citizens – residents of major urban centers experience almost no rejections of their visa applications. In the same time both the US media (e.g. NYT Times of September 21, 2008, “A Land of Opportunity Lures Poles Back Home”) as well as the Polish media write about a massive return migration of Poles from the US, mainly due to a radical changes in dollar/zloty exchange rate and the opening of labor markets in the EU.

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