- July 21, 2011
“Polish Minority is an Internal Affair of Lithuania”
The determination of Lithuanian authorities against Polish expectations regarding the realization of the treaty assumptions concerning rights of the Polish minority is increasing.
Foreign Minister, Mr Audronius Ažubalis and the President of the Parliament, Irena Degutienė, recently announced that Vilnius will not succumb to the pressure from Warsaw, concerning the Polish minority rights in Lithuania. In their opinion, these issues are a matter of the domestic rather than foreign policy of Lithuania.
“The ongoing discussion on the actual situation of the Polish minority in Lithuania is not the matter of foreign, but of the domestic policy of Lithuania. The question must be resolved with decisions that are satisfactory for both parties. Poland has been, and still remains, one of the key partners in the realization of the interest relevant to national security and defense, energy and transport policy, as well as the interests of the policy towards eastern neighbours.” – said Minister Ažubalis in his speech at the meeting of the heads of diplomatic missions in Vilnius on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the President of the Parliament, Irena Degutienė used similar wording stressing that the question of the situation of Polish minority in Lithuania should not affect the Lithuanian-Polish relations, because it is Lithuania’s internal affair.
Both, Ažubalis and Degutienė, praised the Polish-Lithuanian cooperation in the implementation of joint infrastructure projects and in the area of energy security.
Also the Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Egidijus Meilūnas, who visited Poland on Tuesday praised the cooperation. On Tuesday, during his visit in Warsaw, at the press conference, Meilunas very positively assessed the Polish-Lithuanian cooperation. As he pointed out, in recent years Poland and Lithuania have achieved a breakthrough in the implementation of many projects, inter alia, on the power bridge and the energy security.
”I mean also the Polish presidency in the EU Council, because the energy security is the one of its priorities. We absolutely support you, and wish you success, because your success is our success” – Lithuanian Deputy Minister said in Warsaw.
Meanwhile, how will the Lithuania’s “internal issue” of the observance of the Polish minority rights be dealt with? Unfortunately, that was not clarified by any of the politicians.
In this context the government is working on the act, which would provide for implementation of dual naming and usage of the national minority’s mother tongue within the areas inhabited by them in substantial number. The draft bill is being prepared by the Ministry of Culture. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Arūnas Gelūnas, recently admitted in an interview that the assumptions of the bill are rather theoretical in nature, because many politicians of the ruling party, as well as government officials, unofficially state that the bill has no chance of being voted through the Parliament and predict that it will suffer the fate of the bill on the spelling of surnames. This governmental project was consistent with the expectations of the Polish minority, however, the Parliament ostentatiously rejected it, exactly on the day of the last foreign visit of President Lech Kaczynski in Lithuania.
Tłumaczenie Eliza Łuszczewska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu Translated by Eliza Łuszczewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu
Korekta Magdalena Jez w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu Corrected by Magdalena Jez, as a part of vocational training in the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu