• August 12, 2016
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Marshal Karczewski: the Polish Diaspora Consultative Council will represent all the communities

The members of the Polish Diaspora Consultative Council will be known by September the 5th. We want them to represent all of the Polish diaspora communities, told PAP the Senate Marshal Stanisław Karczewski. He added that, in the future he will solicit increased funds for the Polish diaspora from 60 to 100 million zloty.

The Polish Diaspora Consultative Council, which will advise the chamber about cases which concern the Polish diaspora and the Poles abroad, was appointed again by the resolution of the Senate at the beginning of July. A few days ago, the Senate decided about making it bigger. Instead of 15 members it will consist of 16 members. Its main task will be i.a. expressing opinion on drafts of acts and laws concerning the Polish Community Abroad.

“I will institute the Council and give information about the chosen members on 5th September. I do not want to forestall now and give any names. There will be a special ceremony during which I will present all of the members appointed for the Council. We tried to choose the members in way so that they would represent all of the continents and all of the Polish Communities Abroad. Increasing the number of members from 15 to 16 was caused by the fact that we lacked one place for a person that we really wanted to have in the Council” – said Karczewski.

The marshal stressed that the Council is of great value to the functioning of the Polish diaspora. He assured that the Senate will listen to the opinions of the Council.

“We will work according to the rule: “Nothing about the Polish diaspora, without the Polish diaspora”. I am really happy that the money belongs to the Senate now and that the Senate is the holder of those funds. I can already say that the reaction of the Polish communities abroad is good, we are talking with them, we dialogue steadily (…). The Polish communities are talking about a different quality of our work” – assessed the Senate Marshal.

Karczewski said that the Senate is preparing “very actively” to the conceptualizing of the rules of allocating the budget for the Polish diaspora.

We are analyzing very carefully and profoundly all of the opinions which were sent to us regarding the ways of distributing the funds, priorities. And I think that we have good ideas and we will implement them” – said the marshal of the Senate.

He reassured that now the money for the Polish communities will reach the interested ones faster.

“We will be announcing a competition in September and October and we want those funds to be channeled to the ones who need them already in January” – he informed. Also, he added that introducing a possibility of extending the period of funding of some enterprises, for example running of Polish diaspora websites, newspapers or radio stations, will be a very important change. Hitherto, within the competition by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was possible to get financing for maximally two years using the so called modular programs (that means getting the funds for one year and a promissory note that you will get the money for another year).

Karczewski said that he will work on increasing the resources for the Polish diaspora.

“It is clearly visible that we do not have enough funds. The expectations are big. The needs are much bigger. At the moment, we do not have enough resources. Next year we want to reach the same level as it used to be in the previous years, but from 2018 on, we will solicit more money” – he stressed.

“I would really want that amount which we will channel to support the Polish diaspora to be about 100 million zloty” – Karczewski added.

The Senate has been taking care of the Polish diaspora since 1989. In 2012 the money for the cooperation with the Poles abroad was given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2016 the funds are again at the disposition of the Senate but are being spend accordingly to the results of the competition by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which  was channeled over 60 million zloty.  From 2017 on, the whole amount of money will be managed by the Senate.

According to the draft of the budget of the Senate for the year 2017 the chamber wants to allocate 75 million zloty for this purpose.

The Polish Diaspora Consultative Council beside the Senate Marshal was established in November 2002. It functioned till the year 2012. The resolution about creating the Council was formally repealed by the Senate in 2013 because of the transfer of the resources for the Polish diaspora to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Translated by Weronika Cysdorf within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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