Ambassador Schnepf on U.S. - Poland Relations
- ----- Forwarded with Author's Permission -----From: RICHARD POREMSKI <rppp@...>
The attached article and photo(s) are currently appearing in the May, 2013 issue of the Polish American Journal.
Two photos of Baltimore's World Trade Center were taken from across the Inner Harbor from atop Federal Hill.
PAJ - April 4, 2013 - Amb. Schnepf on U.S. Poland Relations.docxPolish American JournalBuffalo, NY – USA www.polamjouranl.comText & Photo: Richard P. Poremski“Ambassador Schnepf on U.S. - Poland Relations”BALTIMORE, Md. – The Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs invited Poland’s Ambassador to the U.S. – The Honorable Ryszard Schnepf – to address Poland’s foreign affairs and relations here on April 4, 2013 at the World Trade Center. Dr. Frank Burd was the MC and moderator, with 200 Council members and guests attending.Ambassador Schnepf spoke extemporaneously for about 1 hour, which included a follow-up Q&A session. The main topics and answers concerning our two countries are condensed as follows:Baltimore – “I’m very pleased to be here. Baltimore is culturally, historically and economically one of the most active Polish communities in the U.S. today. It’s also home to the National Katyn Memorial, which is very important to Poland and its people.”U.S. - Poland Relations – “Poland is the most reliable friend and good ally that the U.S. has; the U.S. has few such friends in the world. Poland is loyal and dedicated and has proved it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places. We have received much important help from the U.S., political and economic, and we have not wasted this help. Poland considers the U.S. to be its most important partner in the world.”Military Cooperation: “Polish soldiers were very proud to serve alongside American soldiers in Iraq. In Afghanistan we cooperated with the U.S. at the highest political and military levels – and it will be ‘Together In, Together Out.’ The U.S. Missile Defense System, and the presence of American soldiers now in Poland, is a vital issue to Poland. U.S. - Polish security is merged and joined. The U.S. has revised some phases of its Missile Defense plan, and Poland is not happy with the changes. Poland has always been a fighter for freedom - ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’ – including the American Revolutionary War help given by Polish Generals Pulaski and Kosciuszko.”Energy Supply: “The U.S. is relatively independent, developing and using new domestic sources. The U.S. will become an exporter of oil and gas, it won’t have to rely on politically unstable sources, and Poland will become an importer of liquid gas from the U.S.”Economics and Trade: “Poland is becoming a leader in computer, information, and aerospace technologies and manufacturing. American companies are locating factories there. A Polish corporation (through a third party) is about to open a chain of Italian restaurants in the U.S. The Fiat 500 car is now being made only in Poland for export to the U.S. and other countries. Our commercial exchange is important to us both in today’s world.”Jewish Property Restitution: “It’s a difficult problem. Jewish property is 14% of the entire claims. The claims are all being treated equally, with no division by religion or ethnicity. The owner is the owner, with legal documents and titles being very important. This has affected even prime, historic property formerly owned by the Polish government.”U.S. Visa Waiver Program: “It’s unfair that Poles need a visa to enter the U.S., and Poland needs to be included into the Visa Waiver Program very soon. Presently, there are very stern and onerous preconditions in obtaining a visa – especially for younger Poles, with their rejection rate being automatically extremely high. The U.S. is losing out on the Polish talent because the professional and highly skilled Poles desired by U.S. companies are now going to the entry-free E.U. countries to work. Many Polish tourists want to visit the U.S. and spend their money here. The President, and certain Senators and Congressmen are now working to resolve the problem. Adding Poland to the Visa Waiver Program will be a benefit to both the U.S. and Poland.”Ambassador Schnepf proved to be an outstanding, very knowledgeable and socially engaging speaker, witnessed by the standing ovation he justly received from the appreciative audience at the conclusion of his very informative remarks.Richard P. PoremskiPolish American JournalWashington, DC BureauApril 8, 2013www.polamjouranl.com