“Current international situation and the situation in Europe make us reset our relationship with Poland”, said Andrzej Pukszto, a head of the Depatment of Political Science at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas.
On Tuesday (29th November) President Dalia Grybauskaitė with a decree approved the government of Saulius Skvernelis. “These are educated people, who have experience in work in senior positions in Lithuania and abroad. We hope that with the new cabinet of ministers we will come to more qualitative management of the country. The work of the government will depend on co-operation with the new Seimas”, said Grybauskaitė.
Andrzej Pukszto do not exclude the possibility of the new government conflicting with the presidential center, as it happened in the previous term. “This time the President did not have as much claims against candidates. She has changed a little her style of treating candidates, because we remember perturbations accompanying the approval of ministers of the Prime Minister Butkevičius. This time we’ve managed to avoid such situations. It can be assumed that the Prime Minister had consulted the Presidential Palace a lot and candidates were agreed with the President. It gives us hope that cooperation can be more fruitful”, said Pukszto.
According to Pukszto the new government may experience some problems dealing with the Seimas and the largest ruling party, as most of ministers do not belong to the Union of Greens and Farmers. The political scienstist does not have any major objections concerning the composition of the government, as “they are in majority competent people”. “However, the greatest challenge for new ministers is about using their expertise according to the direction chosen by the Party”, stressed the head of Kaunas Cathedral.
The new government has announced that they would aim for normalizing their relationship with Warsaw. “It seems that the President will try – through the government – open the door or window of Poland. Current international situation and the situation in Europe make us reset our relationship with Poland The President needs to save her face in this situation, as she herself has frozen this relationship. Now there is a good opportunity to – with some help of the Prime Minister – improve the relationship”, said Pukszto in the interview for zw.lt.
Warming of relations with Poland depends a lot on the situation of Poles in Lithuania. “The Prime Minister probably realizes that the key to normalizing relations with Warsaw lies in resolving the issue of Polish minority in Lithuania. He mentioned that during his speech in the Seimas. Karbaukis has also started the initiative concerning spelling of names. Both the President and the Prime Minister are very interested in resseting of relations with Poland. The international situation also makes them do it. Do they have any ideas? We will see in a moment. It seems to me that they do not have too many of ideas. However, if political will appears, it is definitely possible to accomplish the plan”, added Pukszto.
The new Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has stressed on several occasions that relations with Poland need to be improved. The issue of the original spelling of names has been a bone of contention in the Polish-Lithuanian relationship. The new ruling coalition announced that they would try to resolve this problem. A week ago he Union of Greens and Farmers suggested that on the main page of the passport should be a record of two versions of a surname – one using the Lithuanian alphabet and the other using any other alphabet. In official records only the Lithuanian version of the surname would be used.
The Polish Fraction of the Lithuanian Freedom Union does not agree with this proposal.
“The Polish Fraction of the Lithuanian Freedom Union is very concerned about the proposal of the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on recording the original form of the surname as a second one, next to the distorted form on the first page of documents. We think that such solution will bring even more chaos and will not give us the right to dignity or the freedom of using our own surnames in proper forms. It will not eliminate a discriminatory practice of distorting of our surnames, introduced by the Soviet occupying power, it will only result in the antipathy towards the Government”, says the statement.
Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Drabik w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Drabik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.