Friday, May 27, 2011

Visa-free travel for Poles: Priceless

President Barack Obama hits Warsaw Friday for his long-awaited Polish tour. Of course, Polish attention is less on big global events like Afghanistan, the financial crisis, the IMF replacement, world peace, and rather more firmly fixed on what much of the media believes is the key current issue in US-Poland relations: visa relief for Poles. 

The Americans have said time and again the problem is not us, it's you. Too many Poles abuse visa privileges for visas to be removed, they say.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Thursday ahead of the visit that though he had pledged to get visas for Poles removed he would not beg. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said much the same.

Obama should make up for the perceived early slighting of Poland and for the very real undermining of Poland's desire to be a close ally of the US and get rid of the visas. It is ridiculous that Poles have fought and died side by side with Americans since 2003 at least and yet a Polish veteran can't travel to the US without undergoing a process that might not involve water boarding but many I know do not describe as friendly. 

After all, as Tusk suggested Thursday, for all its problems Poland is a bit of a "yes, you can" country and there is no more huge line of Poles waiting to go to the US to work illegally. After all, they can just go to the UK or Germany or Austria and work for more legally.

No comments:

Post a Comment