Brussels has issued a warning, stating Poland’s ongoing cash-for-visas scandal could be a breach of EU law, and has given the PiS government until today to react to allegations and illustrate how they plan on neutralising the issue.
The incumbent PiS party is known for its tough stance on immigration, which remains key to its platform ahead of upcoming elections this month. As such, government involvement in issuing up to 350,000 visas since 2021 in exchange for bribes, to individuals from the Middle East and East Asia, could seriously damage their campaign.
So far, government spokespersons have labeled the claims “absurd”, whilst simultaneously dismissing officials connected to the scandal. Opposition will attempt to use the crisis to highlight hypocrisy and corruption within government. However, with the PiS tightening its grip over media channels in recent years, this message will be hard to spread. Moreover, a distorted understanding of events could push the population towards parties even further to the right.
Meanwhile the scandal has deepened tensions with the EU more widely, with Germany strengthening border security in order to stem the flow of asylum seekers. Expect to see heightened tension and actions from both sides as the crisis deepens.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..