- August 29, 2014
Nearly 6000 applications for issuing of Polish Cards have been submitted in Lithuania
Till May about 110 thou. Polish Cards have been issued in Belarus and Ukraine – as follows from the information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted Thursday to the members of the Commission for Communication with Poles Abroad. The Ministry has also said that currently there are 24 Polish institutes operating worldwide.
The representatives of the MFA informed the Members of Parliament that since 29th March 2008, so since the day the Law on Polish Card entered into force, to 15th May 2014 the consular posts have accepted about 140 thou. applications for the Polish Card.
The applicants have received about 110 thou. Polish Cards. The most applications (about 63 thou.) were submitted in Belarus, in Ukraine (60 thou.), in the countries of the Baltic Region (i.a. in Lithuania – 5 917, in Latvia – 1 562). In the Russian Federation 3 665 application were submitted, and in Kazakhstan – 1 828.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasises that on 1st May the amendment of Law on Foreigners entered into force, and the Polish Card became the base for obtaining the permanent residence card, making it easier to obtain Polish citizenship. The Ministry gives itself time until May 2015 to monitor this process. After that time it is possible that the preparations for the amendment of Law on Polish Card will begin. It is not out of the question that the Polish Card will be extended for the whole world. Currently it is available only for Poles living beyond the eastern boarders of our country.
According to the MFA, the biggest difficulties connected with issuing of the Polish Card were recorded in Belarus where the acceptance of documents issued by foreign countries, allowing for concessions and benefits resulting from i.a. being a member of a national minority, were banned. It concerns especially the administration and service workers. The MFA tries to provide safety of the recipients of the Polish cards by i.a. a safer way of sending correspondence connected with the PC.
The Polish Card is a document confirming affiliation to the Polish nation and awarding its holder certain privileges connected with i.a. obtaining a visa to Poland, employment in Poland or economic activity. Citizens of the former Soviet Union can apply for the Card.
Members of the Seimas’ Commission announced a meeting with the representative of the Ministry of Home Affairs connected with the signals concerning the bad treatment of the holders of the Polish Card on Polish borders. People proving their identity using this document were exempted from certain duties while crossing the Polish border.
The Polish Card has been creating a lot of discussion in Lithuania for years. Twice, in year 2009 and 2011, there were attempts in the Lithuanian Parliament to direct this case to the Constitutional Court, but the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania has rejected this motion twice.
The MFA has also given the information about the Polish institute beyond the borders of Poland. Their aim is to promote Poland, its culture and Polish language.
Currently there are 24 Polish institutes operating worldwide (Berlin, Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Kiev, London, Madrid, Minsk, Moscow, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Beijing, Prague, Rome, Sofia, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Vienna, Vilnius). The youngest are the institutes in: Tokyo (set up in 2011), New Delhi (2012), Beijing (May 2014).
There are plans for an opening of the Polish institute in Istanbul in 2015. It will be the culmination of this year’s 600th anniversary of establishing of Polish-Turkish diplomatic relations. In the long term the MFA is considering a further expansion of the net of institutes beyond Europe.
During the last years the institutes had carried out a couple thousands projects. The priorities were: Chopin Year. Lutosławski Year, Korczak Year, Curie-Skłodowska Year, activities connected with Polish presidency in the Council of the European Union. In this year it were the projects connected with the anniversaries of the democracy in Poland, membership in NATO and EU, and also the 100th anniversary of Jan Karski’s birthday and 600th anniversary of establishing of diplomatic relations with Turkey.
Translated by Alicja Dudzik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.