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S&Ds: The corruption visa scandal in Poland must be fully investigated, we must defend Schengen!


03 Oct 2023


Global Europe

The Socialists and Democrats are appalled by the reports that the PiS government officials have been issuing thousands of visas to third country nationals in exchange for bribes. The corruption scandal undermines both the rule of law and free movement in the EU, one of the most tangible achievements of European integration.

Today, in the plenary debate, the S&Ds called on the European Commission to fully investigate the scale of the corruption involved in the reported cash-for-visas scandal in Poland and take the appropriate next steps to respond to any violation of EU law.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, chair of the LIBE committee and rapporteur for the rule of law in Poland, said: 

“Schengen is the crown jewel of the European experience, one of the most concrete and most appreciated assets of European integration. We must defend it. We must protect its integrity and its governance, because once you enter the Schengen area, you are free to move throughout it. This means every member state must obey by the rule of EU law.

“The reports about Polish officials selling visas on an unprecedented scale are appalling. The Commission must play its role as the guardian of the EU treaties and get to the bottom of this scandal by fully investigating its scale.”

Robert Biedroń, S&D MEP, chair of the Polish Delegation and co-leader of Lewica, said:  

“The hypocrisy and cynicism of the Polish PiS government reached its peak. On the one hand, the PiS government is targeting migrants with hate speech, and on the other hand, it is selling visas on a massive scale.

“We must speak out using clear language: PiS has created a visa mafia state, violating the foundations of Schengen, and undermining the security of Poland and the European Union. We must avoid at all costs that Polish people pay the price for the incompetence of the PiS government when it comes to Schengen membership. Free movement is a priority for the people of Poland and we have to protect this great achievement of European integration.”