Viktoras Pranckietis, the Speaker of the Seimas met today (10 February) with representatives of the National Communities Council of Lithuania. The meeting was also attended by representatives of Polish minorities.
“The meeting was held on the initiative of the Department of National Minorities. That was the first, orientation meeting. Every community could voice their concerns and present their visions and proposals for solving the problems” – said Grzegorz Sakson, the representative of Lithuanian Poles in a council, for “Znad Willi” Radio Station.
“We voiced our concerns. They have been known for a long time. One of the main problems is the law on national minorities that ceased to have effect in 2009. Since then a new law has not been passed. We also drew attention to the problem of names and surnames in documents. (…) I raised the issue of land restitution. It mainly concerns Vilnius and amount of compensation. (…) School matters related to financing and Lithuanian language examination were also discussed” – said Grzegorz Sakson.
Sakson: This is a good step
The activist of Polish minority stated that no specific proposals were put forward by the speaker.
“He did not promise anything. As I said, this was the orientation meeting. We also noted that the current government programme does not contain any chapter related to national minorities, their problems and ways of solving them as well as policy towards national minorities. Obviously, the speaker confirmed that they knew these problems and would devote some attention to them, though this is not included in the programme” – added Sakson.
After all, Grzegorz Sakson has positively assessed the meeting with Pranckietis.
“Such a meeting is a good step. The question is whether I think the new Seimas will solve these problems and adopt a new law on national minorities. When I look at the composition of the Seimas, I have some doubts whether during this term the law will be passed. If it really is, I will be pleasantly surprised” – added Sakson.
Pranckietis: The problem not only concerns Poles
Viktoras Pranckietis stated that the Seimas would not intend to rush into a decision concerning the law on national minorities.
“We have to review the project and its proposals. (…) We need to specify all points together with communities. This is because certain provisions do not accord with their interests. Of course, the project will be submitted to the Seimas again. Certainly, some people may feel disappointed that the law has not been passed yet” – claimed the Speaker of the Seimas after the meeting.
Pranckietis stated that the issue of original spelling is relevant to Russians and Lithuanian as well. According to the politician, Russians want to put their names on the basis of the Latin alphabet, but with the use of original transcription. “The problem not only concerns Poles, but also all other nations” – stressed Prancketis.
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.