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President signs law on foreign service

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signed the law on foreign service, the presidential office announced on Tuesday. The act provides for the creation of a separate position of the Head of the Foreign Service and changes in the structure of diplomatic ranks.

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The Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, passed the law in February. It assumes, in addition to creating a separate position of the Head of the Foreign Service, a change in the structure of diplomatic ranks. The highest rank will be the minister-plenipotentiary and not the ambassador as it is today.

The act also provides for a change in the rules for recruiting candidates for the foreign service and for making the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1990 available to the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). According to the new regulations, a diplomat may be delegated to the President’s Chancellery. The president himself will be able to appoint special ambassadors.

According to the act, the position of the Head of the Foreign Service is to be separate from the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The current Director General is Andrzej Papierz.

Moreover, the new law states that the head of the Polish Armed Forces will comprehensively manage the foreign service, organise training, and indicate the criteria for assessing members of the foreign service. The Foreign Minister is to manage the human resource management process, award diplomatic ranks, manage the Diplomatic Academy and prepare draft normative acts regarding the foreign service. Other tasks will include monitoring and supervising the use of financial resources for the remuneration of members of the foreign service corps.

The law provides for the correction of diplomatic ranks; the highest diplomatic rank for the professional corps of foreign service will be the plenipotentiary minister, and the rank of titular ambassador will be awarded by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs only for the duration of the ambassador’s function in a foreign mission.

The act introduces a new category of foreign employee, which enables hiring a person who has been outside the foreign service. Foreign workers will not have to complete the diplomatic and consular apprenticeship conducted by the Diplomatic Academy. However, in order to become professional diplomats and obtain the first diplomatic degree, a foreign service employee after three years of experience will have to complete a diplomatic and consular seminar as well as pass an exam.

The act is to take effect three months after its publication in the Official Journal of Laws.

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