- April 19, 2012
Surnames writing bill was rejected.
The members of the Law and Order Committee in the Lithuanian Parliament rejected the bill concerning the possibility of writing non-Lithuanian name and surname (for instance, Polish one) in an original language version in official documents. According to the project, original name and surname spelling wouldn’t be found on the first page of a passport but on the following pages. ‘After the Court of Justice of European Union decision I can’t see any need for additional entries,’ said the head of the commission, the Lithuanian conservative party deputy Stasys Šedbaras.
As it is commonly known, the Court of Justice examined the issue of writing non-Lithuanian surnames in original language version, last year. Then the Court examined the plaint filed by a Polish lawyer Lukas Wardyn and his wife Małgorzata Runiewicz-Wardyn, a Lithuanian citizen. The Lithuanian authorities refused to write their name and surname in Polish.
But the Court of Justice of European Union stated that Lithuania can refuse to change the spelling into Polish one if this is not a reason for a ‘serious inconvenience’ for the interested party and if the name and surname spelling using exclusively with the Lithuanian transcript is not against EU rules.
According to Gintaras Songaila, the author of the bill refused by the Parliamentary commission, the name and surname notation in an original language version on the following pages of the passport constitute a compromise proposal. Lithuanian Member of Parliament emphasizes that his project takes into account the minorities representatives aspirations (mainly Poles) as well as the Constitutional Court decision from 2009.
The Lithuanian Constitutional Court stated three years ago that Poles in Lithuania can have their surname written in an original form in passports not on the front page of the document but on the following pages. Polish minority representatives in Lithuania criticize this proposal adding that they have every right to write their names and surnames in an original version.
Currently, there will be a vote on the bill proposed by Songalia in Lithuanian Parliament. Lithuanian members of parliament can refuse the Law and Order commission motion and start a discussion on the possibility of notation of non-Lithuanian surname on the following passport pages.
The issues of notation of Polish surnames in Lithuania and the education are one of the most awkward problems that have an effect on the quality of Polish-Lithuanian relationships. The introduction of notation of Polish surnames in Lithuania and Lithuanian in Poland with the use of all diacritic signs is stated in Polish-Lithuanian Treaty from 1994.
Based on: Inf.wł., PAP
Tłumaczenie Adam Gałązka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Adam Gałązka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.