INTERVIEW. Adam Gajkowski: There is a need to create a Ministry of Polish Diaspora

“If I were to create a bill, I think it would concern the Ministry of the Polish Diaspora” – Adam Gajkowski (PiS), the Polish diaspora’s candidate to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, tells the AWPE portal.

You are the Polish diaspora’s candidate for the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. What are your priorities?

Adam Gajkowski: First of all, education of Polish youth and children. Certainly an investment in the Polish community of the 21st century – I consider it important. Not loans, not building a Polish House in one place or another, but ensuring that the Polish community will be able to borrow money, will have guarantees and will build modern buildings. They will be able to repay the debt from the sale of the apartments, and two – from the remaining apartments that will remain – they will be able to maintain their club rooms for many years and at the same time make them available to dance teams of Polish schools, etc.

What exactly should change in education when it comes to the Polish community abroad?

There is a lot of this, but I think that the first main problem is too much bureaucracy when settling various subsidies and this is where actions need to be improved. I know that work is already underway, both at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of National Education, to change this and to simplify the subsidy settlement system. We will push to make it easier, to have less bureaucracy and more subsidies. It even sounded nice – like an election slogan.

There was an idea to increase the number of Polish schools abroad and to create elite schools, perhaps even elite kindergartens. How do you perceive it?

Kindergartens, as we hear from the director, are already starting to be established. As for elite schools, Director Semeniuk [director of the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Education and Science] said that they will definitely consider such proposals and will try to ensure that Polish schools, which will be elite schools, teach in a given language, of course , because otherwise they would not be elitist for a given city, for example London, but at the same time, as part of their very high level of education, they would also educate young people in the Polish language and Polish history, or cultural studies as such.

What specific needs did Polish communities draw your attention to? What do they expect from you as their candidate for the Sejm of the Republic of Poland?

So far, there haven’t been too many requirements, but I think the openness of the Polish office. Unfortunately, Polish offices do not have such a task in their blood that when I receive a letter from a Polish citizen asking for specific help in dealing with a specific matter, in Australia it is accepted that every official, every office must respond immediately, and then say in the e-mail that we will not respond at the moment, but in three weeks we will. And they answer in three weeks. And here it vanishes, so this type of attitude definitely needs to be changed. The English Polish community, in turn, highlighted to me one problem they are struggling with at the moment, which is the question of the availability of consulates and embassies. This involves very long queues and awaiting. They pointed out to me that something had to be done about this problem, that it had to be relieved and then that such queues would no longer arise.

As far as I know, representatives of the Polish community in France also complain about the queues…

I haven’t been to France, so I don’t have any complaints, but I suspect it’s probably the same thing. One of the government officials told me that there is an idea to gather a group of 100 Polish officials, delegate them for three weeks or a month to England or France, of course with knowledge of this particular language, and make them during this time working hard and discharging the queues. Then let the consulates and embassies fend for themselves again.

During the Congress for Independence, the idea of increasing the number of consulates and increasing the number of voting points also appeared. Do you think that the Polish community is sufficiently taken care of by officials and representatives of the Polish state, or should it be necessary – as in the case of Brazil, as requested by the Polish community there – to increase the number of these representations?

Everyone knows what the needs are in a given area. Fr. Zdzisław Malczewski says that when it comes to polling stations, Brazil would need at least two or three more so that there would be no obligation to fly 850 km to vote. The question is how many people would need to open such a point, but from what we hear, there would probably be several hundred of them in Porto Alegre, so it’s probably worth it. Does the Polish state have the appropriate number of officials on site in Brazil who could staff such a point? However, the person who manages the polling point must be an official of the Polish state. It cannot be a random person, so we would have to discuss and consider each of these types of conclusions or postulates.

If you were to create the first bill in your first parliamentary term, what would it cover?

If I were to create a law? I think it’s the Ministry of Polish Diaspora, a real one. Not a department, not a plenipotentiary for Polish diaspora with the rank of undersecretary, but the Ministry of Polish Diaspora, where, of course, the minister would be nominated by the prime minister, but, for example, five undersecretaries of state would be people appointed by the Polish diaspora. For example, the Polish American community would indicate its five representatives, and from these five, the minister would choose one. The same would apply to Poles living in Brazil, Australia, Europe and Eastern Europe – I mean our former Borderlands, Kazakhstan and Siberia.

Thank you very much.

If I may I would like to ask you to vote: No. 20 on the “Warsaw and Abroad” list – Adam Gajkowski. The election of the Polish MP to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland is solely in the hands of the Polish diaspora. Thank you.

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