“If we do not see the will of solving these problems, it’s hard to speak of making the cooperation stronger,” Deputy Marshal of the Polish Senate Maria Koc said at the meeting with the Polish media in Lithuania, which took place on Monday (2nd May) in the Polish Embassy.
On the occasion of the Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad Day celebration, the Deputy Marshal, along with a Polish parliamentary delegation, came to Lithuania. “Of course, we’re greatly impressed with the celebration prepared perfectly by the Association of Poles in Lithuania. On behalf of the country, we would like to congratulate the Association and all our country fellows that they appear so united , that they can demonstrate their Polishness and attachment to the tradition, symbols, and history so beautifully,” stated Maria Koc.
“The Polish minority is very strong in Lithuania, and I’d like to wish it fulfillment of all its plans and objectives within its social and political activities. […] We are always with you – with our whole hearts and souls are we with our country fellows outside the Macierz [Educational Society; translator’s note],” wished the Deputy Marshal.
The Polish delegation is also to participate in the mutual Polish-Lithuanian celebration of the 3rd May Constitution Day, within which a meeting with Chairman of the Seimas Loreta Graužinienė has been planned. The Polish politician stressed that she would really like such a celebration to be a mutual tradition; however, it depends on many factors. “I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ve been invited to this mutual meeting dedicated to the 3rd May Constitution Day celebration. Of course, we’re going to participate in it with the whole delegation. My speech is also scheduled then. We have much in common. We have common history. We have also a common creation of our ancestors, which is the Constitution of the 3rd May. I’m very glad that Lithuania also celebrates this day,” the Deputy Marshal of the Polish Senate pointed out.
Koc assured the participants of the meeting that such issues as lack of an act on national minorities in Lithuania, the Polish education, restoration of nationalised real property, and name spelling would be brought up during the meeting with Lithuanian politicians.
“Everything depends on Lithuania. We collaborate well on many fields – whether on security or energy industry issues; however, so that the cooperation can be stronger, so that it can be a new start, a goodwill on the part of Lithuania is necessary; so that Lithuanian Poles’ problems can be solved – those with which our country fellows have struggled for many years already,” explained the politician.
A similar view was also expressed by Senator Waldemar Kraska. “We would like this day to be the turning point. In politics, however, we can’t be naïve and promise certain things too early. […] The current stance of our government, our parliament is that we should maintain this dialogue, but in such a way so that it bears fruit,” the Polish parliamentarian stated.
The Polish politicians emphasised that the normalisation of the relations depended on Lithuania. Warsaw waits for a certain gesture from Vilnius. Senator Kraska pointed out that the current year is an electoral year in Lithuania, and so Poland had adopted an anticipative attitude.
“Poles are good, loyal citizens, but they feel like Poles. It’s the same all over the world. They are a minority, and their rights are accurately described in various conventions and treaties. It’s necessary to obey those laws. The same applies all over the world. The same applies especially in European Union countries. We must stress it. Being EU countries, we are part of one community, and all the treaties and conventions must apply to us in the same way,” added Deputy Marshal Maria Koc.
Original name spelling, bilingual inscriptions, the Polish education in Lithuania have been “an apple of discord” in the Polish-Lithuanian relations for years.
Tłumaczenie by Karolina Katarzyńska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Katarzyńska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.