Supporting Poles living in the former Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland was part of the Law and Justice (PiS) party’s election program and – as the post-election reality shows – the topic of compatriots who remained in the Eastern Borderlines is currently also present in the actions of the new government, Sejm and Senate. During an interview for Wilnoteka, Artur Górski tells us what kind of assistance can Poles in Lithuania expect from “Macierz” and what plan do Polish authorities currently have for improving the Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Poles in the Vilnius region have repeatedly heard from PiS politicians that their issues are particularly important for the current government. They do not just speak idly but make consecutive decisions aimed at supporting compatriots who remained in the Eastern Borderlands formerly belonging to the Republic of Poland. It is enough to recall the example of the Pole’s Card law amendment or the new repatriation law. Just before Christmas, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland took special care of Polish schools in Lithuania – a special subcommittee on the Polish minority in Lithuania has been formed.
“Supporting Poles in the Eastern Borderlands is our moral obligation” – underlined during the interview for Wilnoteka Artur Górski, deputy chairman of the Contacts with Poles Abroad Committee. According to him, it is not the financial support that is important, but the development of entrepreneurship among Poles in Lithuania. The member of the Parliament thinks that it is the economic potential of Polish minority that can be a deciding factor concerning the defense of its postulates in Lithuania.
However, helping Poles in Lithuania does not only depend on the Polish government’s actions. Only Lithuania can guarantee respecting their rights. Meanwhile – as the events in recent years show, Polish-Lithuanian discussions have rarely been effective. “There has to be a new opening of the Polish-Lithuanian relations – emphasized the member of the Parliament, noting at the same time that the upcoming elections in Lithuania are certainly not a favorable time for such discussions”.
“In the view of upcoming elections and the struggles for Lithuanian electorate, many politicians will be more sharp-tongued month by month”. But even the most radical declarations do not necessarily mean a change for the worse. The member of the Parliament thinks that joint economic initiatives also play a key role in the Polish-Lithuanian relations.
What is the recipe for effective Polish-Lithuanian discussions according to Artur Górski? How can we improve it? “Good analysis, listening carefully to Lithuanians’ mindset and expectations, and speaking to them should bring results over time” – underlines the member of the Parliament, adding that we also need “a confident and determined attitude”.
Based on: own information.
Artur Górski – Polish politician, lecturer, journalist, political scientist, member of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Member of the Commission of Administration and Internal Affairs and deputy chairman of the Contacts with Poles Abroad Committee during the eighth term of the Polish Sejm. Member of the Polish delegation to the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland and the Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic, in 2008 elected as a member of the mutual Commission on verifying the realisation of the Treaty of friendly relationships and neighborly cooperation between the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Lithuania, elected as a deputy chairman of the Assembly on 26 January 2012.
Tłumaczenie by Diana Dymel w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Diana Dymel within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.