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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » December 30, 2010
In brief
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Komorowski Goes to America
December 30, 2010   
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During a visit to United States Dec. 8-9, Polish President Bronisław Komorowski met with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama to discuss the sensitive issue of visas required of Polish citizens traveling to America. The two leaders also talked about the involvement of Polish troops in international missions.

“I feel bound to say that the Polish public completely does not understand why all Poland’s neighbors can benefit from the visa waiver program and Poland cannot,” Komorowski said, adding that Poland was the only country in the region to report positive GDP growth last year. Obama replied he hoped visas for Polish citizens would be lifted by the end of his term at the White House.

Komorowski told Obama that Poland supported and approved the ratification of the START treaty, which was being obstructed in the U.S. Senate by the Republicans. Republican Senator George Voinovich proposed that in return for Republican support for START ratification, Washington should admit Poland to the visa waiver program.

Presidency Priorities
After it takes over the rotating presidency of the EU in July, Poland will work for a stronger EU defense and security policy, try to develop the Eastern Partnership program, and boost Europe’s energy security, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikołaj Dowgielewicz has told parliament.

The full, official agenda of the Polish presidency will be unveiled in mid-June at a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council. The Polish prime minister will discuss the agenda at a European Parliament session in Strasbourg at the beginning of July.

The Polish EU presidency will see the start of negotiations on the 2014-2020 EU financial framework. Poland will be involved in the negotiations as the moderator.

The Polish presidency will probably have to coordinate the ratification of the revised Treaty of Lisbon, Dowgielewicz said. In addition, Poland will be involved in global negotiations such as a United Nations climate conference, a World Trade Organization conference, and a G20 summit.

“It is essential for the Polish presidency to be remembered as an efficient one—a presidency committed to defending the model of a Europe as a community, a Europe of member states with equal rights,” Dowgielewicz said.

Ship Back at Base
After a year under the NATO flag, the Polish ship Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki, which headed the Standing NATO Mine CounterMeasure Group 1, returned to its home port of ¦winouj¶cie in northern Poland at the beginning of December. The crew took part in five combat operations and seven international naval maneuvers. NATO vessels under Polish command destroyed over 12 tons of dangerous explosives in northern European waters from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

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