At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was responsible, among others, for legal, treaty and consular matters, including the visa issuance system. In 2021, with the support of PiS, he ran for the position of Commissioner for Human Rights. Who is Deputy Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, who was dismissed in connection with the visa scandal?
On September 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki August 31st dismissed Piotr Wawrzyk from the position of secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was then reported that the reason for the decision was “lack of satisfactory cooperation”. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wawrzyk was responsible for legal, legal-treaty, consular and parliamentary matters, as well as for the Polish diaspora and public and cultural diplomacy.
At that time, “Gazeta Wyborcza” described the circumstances in which Wawrzyk’s resignation occurred. The daily, citing its informant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported that on Thursday, agents of the special services, probably the Central Anticorruption Bureau, entered the building of the Ministry of Diplomacy. They questioned the management of the consular department and the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the same day, Prime Minister Morawiecki dismissed Wawrzyk.
On September 4, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that an investigation was underway and that the relevant services would be able to provide information if they deemed it appropriate. – I know about the explanatory proceedings that are ongoing and hence the resignation – said the head of government. – We want to maintain absolute transparency and honesty. As soon as we find traces of irregularities, (…) we leave the matter to be clarified. The resignation was made to eliminate any doubts, said the head of government.
Who is the dismissed deputy minister and what has been his political and scientific career so far?
Political scientist, lawyer, doctor
Wawrzyk is a political scientist and lawyer, with a habilitation degree in social sciences. He was born in 1967. He is a graduate of the Institute of Political Sciences and the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw. In the years 1994-1997 he worked in the Sejm Committees Office of the Chancellery of the Sejm, and then in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, where he participated in negotiations regarding Poland’s accession to the European Union.
In the years 2000-2002, he cooperated with the Department of European Legislation of the Office of the Committee for European Integration as part of work on adapting Polish law to the law of the European Union. From February 2018 to October 2019, he was Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for legal and treaty matters.
IN elections In October 2019, he was elected as a member of parliament for the 9th term. At the end of 2020, “Gazeta Wyborcza” reported that Wawrzyk had been an activist of the Polish People’s Party for several years, and he was to join the party in the late 1990s. – He helped us very well in the club’s work. We met for coffee and talked almost every day – former PSL MP Mirosław Pawlak told “Wyborcza”.
In 2013, “Wprost” journalists described that in 2012, Wawrzyk “copied one of the chapters of his book from the paper of his student”, Aleksandra. This is about the book “Civil Courts in the Process of European Integration”, in which a woman employed in the secretariat of the then Institute of European Studies, Faculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw, found a fragment of a paper on the judiciary in Lithuania, which she had written as a student during Wawrzyk’s classes.
According to “Wprost”, Wawrzyk “copied over 2.5 thousand characters”. However, he was not punished for this, because Wawrzyk submitted a request to interrupt the habilitation procedure. He finalized this in 2014, after writing a new work. “In my opinion, it was not plagiarism. Moreover, Dr. Wawrzyk ended the matter himself by writing a request to terminate the habilitation process and submitting a new thesis,” commented Professor Janusz Adamowski, then dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Bibliology at the University of Warsaw, for “Wirtualna Polska” in 2018 .
PiS candidate for Ombudsman
In 2021, he was the candidate endorsed by Law and Justice for the Commissioner for Human Rights.
– One could say that he is not a very political MP, but a more efficient official and lawyer. Such a person, who, in my opinion, should not arouse any extraordinary controversy or objections from the opposition – Ryszard Terlecki, deputy speaker of the Sejm and head of the PiS club, commented on this candidacy on Radio Wnet.
Although Wawrzyk was a candidate supported by PiS, not all of his party colleagues were able to assess his competences for the office of Ombudsman at that time. – He is a minister who has been cooperating with our government for years and works in the government. I think he is well known to the club’s authorities. Personally, I know the minister a little less. He certainly has great merits, but I don’t know the details of his biography – said Piotr Uściński.
– I don’t know any better. I know that he is the deputy minister of foreign affairs, but I really don’t know his competences – said Marek Martynowski. In turn, Henryk Kowalczyk pointed out that at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wawrzyk dealt “mainly with matters related to human rights, actually of Poles abroad.”
Wawrzyk was not appointed Ombudsman due to the rejection of his candidacy by the upper house.
On September 2, 2021, Left MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk quoted Wawrzyk’s words in “Tak jest” on TVN24: “Refugee camps should be created where people would undergo verification and real refugees could count on legal and safe entry to European Union member states. “Such a system would take away a source of income for smugglers by creating opportunities for refugees to enter legally.”
She clarified that these were words from 2016, when Wawrzyk was a “representative of the world of science.”
Investigations into irregularities in submitting visa applications are conducted by the prosecutor’s office Central Anticorruption Bureau. The opposition talks about corruption and claims that hundreds of thousands of documents issued arouse suspicion. The head of PO, Donald Tusk, called it “the biggest scandal of the 19th century in Poland.”
The deputy director of the Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the National Prosecutor’s Office, Daniel Lerman, reported at the Thursday conference that “the investigation was initiated on March 7, 2023 based on materials provided by the Central Anticorruption Bureau.”
– It concerns paid protection in the acceleration of visa procedures in relation to several hundred visas and visa applications submitted over a year and a half. Of these several hundred visas, most of them were granted through refusal decisions, the prosecutor explained. He added that the procedure concerned applications for visas for foreigners to work in Poland.
On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement regarding the visa scandal, in which it announced that it had made decisions in three cases.
Former deputy minister Piotr Wawrzyk was hospitalized on Friday.
Main photo source: Rafał Guz/PAP