Tag Archives: President Komorowski & President Obama

Poland will get visa waivers?

According to Foreign Policy magazine’s article last month on the Komorowski-Obama meeting:

“Score one for Warsaw. President Barack Obama promised Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski on Wednesday that Poland would be admitted to the State Department’s visa waiver program, a concession to Poland that also fulfills a key GOP senator’s demand for his vote to ratify the New START treaty.”

Obama’s exact words were certainly the strongest commitment from any administration yet:

“‘I am going to make this a priority,’ Obama said, sitting alongside Komorowski. ‘And I want to solve this issue before very long. My expectation is, is that this problem will be solved during my presidency.'”

Currently Poles are still required to pay a fee and apply for a visa from the State Department to travel to the United States for any reason. Many much smaller countries (Estonia, Latvia, etc) have secured participation in the visa-waiver program allowing them to travel freely back and forth to the U.S. (to much Polish chagrin).

Presidential meeting

In case you missed it, here is the video of the Polish president’s visit to the Oval office last month. One of the first things President Obama says is:

“Something that the Polish people and the American people have long shared is not only a love of freedom but also a deep faith and resilience in the face of hardship.”

I think the best way to account for President Obama’s excessive amount of smiling and furrowed-brow nodding during President Komorowski’s remarks (minute 15), is to conclude that he is trying to atone for his earlier aside to the American media in the room regarding the tax agreement he struck with Republicans in Congress – it certainly seemed out of place.