Tomas Tomilinas, the member of the Seimas and vicechairman of the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union was critical of the conservatives’ idea to establish the Fund for the Development of South-Eastern Lithuania.
“I assess this initiative critically. The Committee on Budget and Finance is critical as well. These problems have to be resolved comprehensively at the national level by means of regional policy. Furthermore, the relations with our strategic partner, Poland, are very important. These problems have to be tackled jointly. That is why I say this is an advertising action of a single party” – said the politician for alfa.lt.
Tomilinas stressed that there is “no love” between the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union and the EAPL. “Even Waldemar Tomaszewski supports the fund. They jointly vote for the fund. This is the project of Laurynas Kasčiūnas and Waldemar Tomaszewski. In my opinion this fund is not necessary” – stated the vicechairman of the party.
Last week a few members of the Seimas stated that it is necessary to establish the Fund for the Development of South-Eastern Lithuania that could be independent of local authorities.
We want to establish the fund in order to reduce the impact of the local government on the region as well. In the south-eastern Lithuania power lies in the hands of one party – the party led by honourable Waldemar Tomaszewski [EAPL-CFA]. Practically speaking, all financial solutions depend on one party only. Residents of this region are just like hostages who are dependent on a tsar” – stated Laurynas Kasčiūnas, the conservative and one of the originators of the idea.
“Statistically, South-eastern Lithuania – the Vilnius region and the Šalčininkai region – are more backward than other regions in Lithuania. That should not be the case because they lie near the capital. These regions have a higher unemployment rate, higher delinquency rate, lower salaries and fewer foreign investments. That means something is wrong” – added another conservative Paulius Saudargas.
The project of the Fund for the Development of South-Eastern Lithuania was registered in December last year. It was signed by 20 members of the Seimas, mostly conservatives and a few representatives of liberal and “order” parties. According to the project, “south-eastern region of Lithuania” is made up of the territories of the Vilnius and Šalčininkai local governments where national minorities constitute a great number of residents.
Fund’s recources would be allocated to local communities, development of citizenship and information awareness, and promotion of a greater residents’ input into economic, social and cultural matters. Fund’s originators also intend to reduce social and economic disparities of the region, protect architectural heritage and provide a better system of formal and non-formal education.
Tłumaczenie by Grzegorz Gaura w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Grzegorz Gaura within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.