• October 15, 2012
  • 166

Fuksiewicz: It’s Hard to Expect Radical Changes

© A.Didžgalvio nuotr.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite does not go to Poland and Polish President Bronisław Komorowski goes to Lithuania only as a private person. “Will the yesterday’s parliamentary elections change the situation?” asks Aleksander Fuksiewicz, an analyst at the Institute of Public Affairs, in “Rzeczpospolita” pages.

“There is a lot of friction between Warsaw and Vilnius. Radosław Sikorski in this year’s policy statement made it clear that there is no hope for improvement unless the Lithuanian government changes,” writes Fuksiewicz. According to the analyst, the elections are a good opportunity to change that. “The elections have to be used to renew the talks between Warsaw and Vilnius even though it is hard to expect radical changes in the government’s approach to Polish minority. Especially that those frictions has already affected both societies,” thinks Fuksiewicz.

For 20 years none of the promises has been fulfilled

Fuksiewicz points out to the 2011 opinion poll as one of the examples of such frictions. The opinion poll shows that the percentage of Lithuanians claiming that their opinion about Poles has worsen has increased from 9 to 48. In his opinion it is Polish minority protests against the amendment to Education Act that have polarized Lithuanian society. The analyst believes that Lithuanian policy towards Polish minority cannot be justified. “For 20 years none of the promises has been fulfilled. Lithuanians themselves seem to be embarrassed by the fact that such trivial things as correct spelling of Polish names or instalment of bilingual street signs turn out to be  too difficult to deal with for Lithuanian government (…) There are also the latest problems such as the Education Act. The solutions offered in it are perhaps reasonable but they were introduced in such a way that Poles feel like second-class citizens,” wrote Fuksiewicz.

Wrong Polish politics

Pressure from the Polish side does not improve the relationships. “On the contrary, very often Poland act carelessly. Polish foreign minister’s words about waiting for the new government are the best example of tactlessness. In the view of this attitude even a moderate Lithuanian politician has to become more strict,” claims the analyst.

Fuksiewicz is not sure if the elections will change this situation. “Social democrats will most probably win. The question is who will form the coalition. In fact, this is the only party that presented something for the minorities in their programme. They propose to pass a law about the minorities and to establish of an institution that would represent them. They promise to solve the problem of spelling Polish names and to set up bilingual street signs. But the programme is one thing and its realization is another thing. Social democrats ruled before. They haven’t solved any of the problems,” says Fuksiewicz.

Tomaszewski’s “hostages”

The real challenge for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be the exceeding of threshold by Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. “How to claim the minorities’ rights and not to become a “hostage” of Waldemar Tomaszewski, the leader of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and one of the most controversial politician of Lithuania? Tomaszewski is considered to be a skilful player in the Lithuanian political arena and Polish minority is the foundation of his political activities,” says the analyst.

Fuksiewicz does not rule out the possibility of Poland rejecting Lithuanian efforts to reach an agreement. “It can happen, for example, that the new social democratic government would postpone realization of some decisions of the controversial Education Act and Warsaw would reply that no talks should be held until there are bilingual street signs and correct spelling of Polish names,” says Fuksiewicz.

Source: http://pl.delfi.lt/aktualia/polska/fuksiewicz-trudno-oczekiwac-radykalnych-zmian.d?id=59754959

Tłumaczenie Monika Rak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Monika Rak the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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