11 December 2012 - Changes on the map of Polish diplomatic and consular posts around the world.
For Polish diplomatic and consular posts to better respond to changing needs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs decided to close the Consulates General in Lille and Malmö, and move the seats of two other Consulates General – from Los Angeles to San Francisco and from Vancouver to Edmonton. The MFA also plans to open diplomatic missions in new locations, especially in Asia.
The Consulate seat was moved to San Francisco due to the city’s position as one of the leading American academic and business hubs, and a breeding ground for new technologies. The new location will help unlock the mission’s potential for promoting Poland and its economy. Meanwhile, Edmonton is Western Canada’s biggest centre of Polish diaspora, with important educational institutions and a thriving mining industry.
The decision to close the Consulates in Malmö and Lille by mid-2013 was based on economic considerations and the need to streamline the Polish diplomacy’s global presence. The sale of the Malmö Consulate property is expected to bring in approximately PLN 2.15 million, with PLN 1.5 million to be saved annually thanks to job cuts. In Lille, the savings are estimated at PLN 3.3 million and PLN 2.6 million respectively. Keeping properties and staff in these cities makes little economic sense given the small number of applications processed (e.g. in Malmö, one employee processes 6 non-passport applications a month).
In addition, the amended Passport Act signed by the President enables citizens to file passport applications in any consulate. The Consular Section of the Embassy in Stockholm will take over the functions of the Consulate in Malmö, while the Consular Section of the Embassy in Paris and the Consulate General in Lyon will be responsible for the tasks carried out by the Lille post.
The MFA will use the savings to bolster Polish diplomatic and consular presence in other regions, especially Asia. Over the last five years, the number of Embassies has been reduced from 101 to 91, while 9 Consulates Generals have been closed. At the same time, Poland has opened a number of new diplomatic and consular posts. They include: the Embassies in Podgorica and Astana; the Consulates General in Manchester, Reykjavik, Sevastopol, Vinnytsia and Donetsk; the Consular Agencies in Smolensk and Irbil; the Permanent Representation to UNESCO; and the Polish Institutes in Brussels, Madrid, Tokyo and New Delhi.
Posted by Marcin Bosacki
MFA Press Spokesman