Poland declares Norwegian consul ‘persona non grata’

Following Norway’s decision to declare Polish consul Sławomir Kowalski persona non grata, Warsaw asked Norway’s consul to leave Poland in retaliation to Oslo’s move to oust Polish diplomat from the Scandinavian country, Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister has announced.

He said that Poland, acting on reciprocal grounds, presented a note to the ambassador of Norway on identical steps towards a Norwegian consul in Warsaw.

Commenting on Norway’s decision on Twitter, Deputy Minister Szynkowski vel Sęk wrote it was “extremely unjustified”.

In a communiqué, Polish foreign ministry states that Poland is “acting on the principle of reciprocity and in line with international custom.”

In late January, Norway’s foreign ministry said it had decided to expel Mr Kowalski – known for his struggle with state-controlled Norwegian Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, over the rights of Polish children.

According to Oslo, the decision followed Mr Kowalski’s performance in several consular cases which were not in line with his official duties, including his inappropriate conduct towards public officials. He has reportedly helped some 150 Polish families who faced the loss of custody of their children in Norway under decisions issued by the Barnevernet.

In 2016, Mr Kowalski was named Consul of the Year by Poland’s foreign ministry for his “adequate action and skillful collaboration” with Norwegian authorities “in cases involving underage Polish nationals remaining under the custody of local welfare services”.

Mr Kowalski has been given a week to leave Norway.

For the full Polish foreign ministry statement, click here.