An amendment of the Act on State Language has been postponed


Seimas of Lithuania has postponed on the undefined period discussing the project of amending Act  on State Language.   Polish members  of parliament was contented with that decision, because of lots of regulations included in the Act, that polish society is afraid of.  Member of Parliament Mr. Jarosław Narkiewicz mentioned that  an amendment of project in current shape may cause elimination of polish language out of public life in Vilnius region and makes works on  the Act on National Minorities harder.

Works o amendment of the Act last ever since 2006 and project was carefully prepared for several times.  Now the group of members of parliament set about to push it through, well  – known for their work on the famous Act of Educational Law (V. Stundys, K. Garšva etc.) , so it’s hard to expect that included regulations would meet Polish minority expectations. During the preparations to the second reading of the project were released information in Lithuanian media regarding some liberalization i.e. opportunity for using Polish language for information and tourist purposes, but according to politicians minds it is just a cover for introducing other regulations, much more restrictive.

If the proposed was amended, the names of places could be used only in official Lithuanian version. Even media of national minorities would be obliged to use names Vilnius, Nemenčinė, Šalčininkai, instead of Wilno, Niemenczyn, Soleczniki. Public events  like festivals of Polish culture (i.e. „Polish flowers” – „Kwiaty Polskie”) or fairs should be conducted in two languages both Polish and Lithuanian. Moreover events and celebrations  in Polish schools should be translated into Lithuanian. Such assumptions were widely criticized by EAPL and social democratic leaders of opposition “It will eliminate self-reliance in community of national minorities existence. –  Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis has warned.

Members of EAPL many times proposed amendments to the project, which stood in accordance with polish expectations and would allow for local authorization of language of national minorities living in tight areas with no damage for Lithuanian as a state language, but all have been rejected in variety of authority levels. “We can see some tendencies, familiar to us from the amendment of the Act of Educational Law and pressure from some societies, similarly  to the past year” – admitted member of parliament and EAPL Mr. Jarosław Narkiewicz.

„They care about introducing an amendment in their edition yet in current tenure. I’m not sure if there was any opportunity for changes before final amendment introducing or delete harmful regulations, therefore we are blocking the project. Luckily we have convinced the Chairman of Seimas and Prime Minister as well, so the project was taken off the parliamentary session for unspecified period.” – has assumed Mr. Narkiewicz in an interview with “Wilnoteka”.

Spring session of the Lithuanian Seimas last till the end of June. Autumn session will be dominated by October elections to the Lithuanian Parliament. Project of an  amendment  on state language – if it return under parliamentary session, will be taken under another reading and then will be voted, so a race against time is on…

Base : Self Information

Tłumaczenie Ewelina Targosz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, Translated by Ewelina Targosz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights,

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