Poland and UK sign bilateral voting rights treaty

Both Polish and British citizens can continue to stand and vote in local elections in each other’s countries following the UK’s exit from the EU under a new agreement signed by the two governments, the Polish foreign minister said in a Friday statement.

The treaty signed by Poland and the UK on Friday ensures that Polish citizens living in the UK and British people living in Poland have the right to choose who represents them in local government in the country where they reside.

The document to this effect was inked by the UK’s Ambassador to Poland, Jonathan Knott and the Polish Secretary of State for Legal and Treaty Affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk on Friday, 29 May in Warsaw.

"Today’s ceremony of the signing of the Polish-British agreement on the electoral rights in the local elections in Poland and the United Kingdom bears a special, symbolic character," Wawrzyk said as cited in the statement. "It is a proof that ties between Poland and the United Kingdom remain strong and resistant, also in the adverse circumstances of the global pandemic. (...) The agreement signed today proves that both countries want to maintain the closest relations possible, also following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union," he added.

The UK's Foreign Office Minister for the European Neighbourhood, Wendy Morton, cited in the statement said that the document underlines both countries’ "shared commitment to democracy and is a testament to the close ties between the UK and Poland."

"These ties have never been more important, as our countries work in partnership to overcome the global challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic," she added.

Poland is the fourth country to sign a voting rights treaty with the UK, following treaties signed with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg last year.