This week’s plenary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg will, among other things, discuss the so-called “visa-for-bribes” scandal in Poland.
The European Peoples’ Party (EPP) Group in the parliament said it is “extremely worried” about the scale of fraud and corruption in the Polish visa issuing system, which resulted in the mass issuance of Schengen visas to foreigners from countries with a high terrorist threat level.
The inflow of a huge number of migrants with Polish visas alerted other EU countries, which concluded that Poland did not conduct the security verification procedures that are required for citizens of some third countries.
Comment on the case came from Andrzej Halicki MEP, head of the Polish delegation of the EPP Group.
The MEP said, “The visa-for-bribes scandal is another example of corruption, incompetence and hypocrisy of the PiS government.
“This time, the security not only of Poland, but of the entire EU is at stake. A government that incites hatred against migrants is itself letting in uncontrolled masses.
“The scale of the fraud scheme is very disturbing”, stressed Halicki.
Trade is also on the agenda this week.
An estimated one in seven jobs in Europe depend on trade with the rest of the world.
The EPP said it wants Europe to “strongly commit” to and keep investing in trade partnerships around the globe and come together with like-minded countries for mutually beneficial trade relations, “respecting our social and environmental standards.”
The debate on international trade will take place on Wednesday afternoon.
MEPs say it is “crucial” to swiftly ratify the Mercosur Agreement to strengthen the Union’s close partnership with Latin America “at a time when democracies depend on each other.”
The EPP adds, “At the same time, we must stop being naive and make sure we protect ourselves and respond to the unfair practices of some trade partners, such as China.”
On the broader issue of tackling unfair trade practices like the “weaponisation” of trade, the plenary will debate the new Anti-Coercion Instrument to counter “trade bullies” on Monday and vote on it on Tuesday, just before discussing the trade relationship with China on Tuesday afternoon.
Centre right members will call for a €75.8 billion increase to the EU’s long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), when the Parliament debates on Tuesday and adopts its position on the revision of the MFF on Wednesday.
Jan Olbrycht said, “The Commission’s proposal of an additional €65.8 billion for the MFF until 2027 is insufficient.
“It is not enough to deliver on EU priorities and fails to provide reserves or flexibilities in case of future unforeseen crises”, warned the MEP.
The Parliament will also insist that the revised MFF enters into force before January 2024.
On Wednesday morning, the Parliament will hold a plenary debate in Strasbourg to discuss the asylum and migration package currently under negotiation.
The ECR Group said it will use the debate to “highlight the need to find a way forward that takes into account the different views and sensitivities of all Member States.