Polish president plays down Swiss quotas

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski on Thursday downplayed a Swiss decision this year to cap the number of work visas issued to eastern Europeans, including Poles, insisting the move had very little impact.

Polish president plays down Swiss quotas
Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf meets her Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski (Photo: Wojciech Grzedzinski)

"This has basically no influence on Poland," Komorowski told reporters during a state visit to Switzerland, according to the ATS news agency.

Switzerland decided in April to reintroduce quotas on the number of long-term work visas issued to people from the so-called "A8" nations that joined the European Union in 2004 — the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Bern said only 2,180 such permits would be given this year to citizens of the eight countries, after some 6,000 of their citizens obtained the visas during the previous year when the quota system had been lifted.

On the first day of his two-day state visit to Switzerland, Komorowski and his Swiss counterpart Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf emphasized the excellent relations between the two countries.

They stressed that their commercial exchange had soared in recent years, with Widmer-Schlumpf pointing out that Swiss companies counted some 35,000 employees in Poland.

Swiss exports to Poland last year were worth 2.0 billion francs ($2.15 billion), while imports reached 1.4 billion francs, she said.

The Swiss government was on Thursday night hosting a gala dinner for Komorowski and his wife Anna Komorowska, and before returning to Poland the couple was set to tour the Swiss cantons of Fribourg and Vaud on Friday with Widmer-Schlumpf and her husband Christoph Widmer.

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