- August 10, 2012
Stanisław Widtmann makes an unfavourable statement
As the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania has said, the minorities policy in Lithuania is implemented effectively. Thus, a separate institution for the coordination of these matters is not necessary.
The debate on minority issues has been continuous since 2010 when the Department for National Minorities and Emigration ceased to exist and the Ministry of Culture has taken over its responsibilities.
„Whether it forms part of a larger institution or acts independently does not matter. What matters is whether such policy is effective, whether it gives results“ – Deputy Minister of Culture told BNS, adding that “it is the Ministry of Culture now that is responsible for the minorities issues.” He continued: “I do understand the need for a separate body for these matters but I fear that in times of crisis this in not possible.
As the director of the Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble “Wilia”, Renata Brasel said: “Such a solution is necessary. Who will provide the funds otherwise?”
According to Stanisław Widtmann, “last year the Ministry spent about 250 thousand litas on projects and activities organized for the minorities. The funds came from local governments and other institutions. The minorities also receive funding from abroad“.
„We are an institution of science and culture, and if there are matters which collide with the best interest of the country, they rest within the competence of other state institutions. Generally, we have not noticed any signs of harmful policies, but it stands to reason that financing from the East is sometimes motivated by other factors than just developing culture and science“.
The deputy minister also said that “laws concerning minorities should soon be passed and the things that should be given priority are the languages used by the minorities. But the term ‘minority’ in Lithuania is not yet defined clearly and the patrimony is not divided adequately.
„Now the signing of a separate minority act is under debate. But drawing up of such an act is a long process. For instance, in Poland it takes about 10 years to prepare such an act. For the record, the minorities in Lithuania constitute about 0,5 million inhabitants“ – the deputy minister added.
Michał Mackiewicz, a Lithuanian MP, told “Wilnoteka” that “the bill of the minority act is ready, it only waits to be passed on to Sejm.” .
Based on information from BNS.
Tłumaczenie Katarzyna Różańska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Różańska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.