- November 6, 2012
Grybauskaitė breaks off courteous relationship with Poland
President Dalia Grybauskaitė will not visit Warsaw to participate in the commemoration of Polish Independence Day. Her spokeswoman informed the media that the President could not visit Poland because of urgent problems associated with the national internal policy.
This statement refers to the formation of a new centre-left coalition led by the leader of a social democratic party, Algirdas Butkevičius. Despite the fact that it remains unknown whether the President will entrusts him with the mission of forming the new government, Algirdas Butkevičius has already announced that he will traditionally pay his first foreign visit to the nearest neighbours – Poland and Latvia.
Warsaw accepted “with understanding” the Lithuanian President’s refusal of the invitation to the November celebrations.
“President Bronisław Komorowski traditionally visited Vilnius on February 16 2012 and participated in the celebration of the Day of Restoration of Lithuania’s Independence. However, he accepted the decision of President Dalia Grybauskaitė with understanding because of the post-election situation in Lithuania.” The head of the Polish President’s press office,Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek , informed the media about the position of the Chancellery of Polish President.
For the first time in five years Lithuanian President will not participate in the November celebrations in Warsaw. Only few people in Lithuania understand such a decision of Grybauskaitė.
“The first time I heard about it I thought that Lithuania was going to face even more dangerous flood than the one in New York. In such a situation, the leader of a country should remain with their citizens and nation, show concern and be the pillar of morality. Taking into consideration the fact that in Lithuania only the elections took place, in which we have winners and losers, and the winners create the government, I don’t think that we experience any major problem or crisis and the President can’t make a symbolic gesture and visit Poland. What’s more, the visit falls on Sunday. It would be a gesture of good will. And the President should use this opportunity.” Valdas Sirutavičius, a political scientist, said. He notices that the Polish-Lithuanian relationship will not improve by itself.
“The relationship can only become worse by itself.” added the political scientist. In his opinion, the post-election situation in Lithuania is only a pretext of President Grybauskaitė for not visiting Warsaw. In the letter of congratulation to President Bronisław Komorowski in celebration of Polish Independence Day Dalia Grybauskaitė suggested a meeting at the beginning of December or in other convenient for Komorowski time. According to the spokeswoman of Lithuanian President, the main topic of the suggested meeting would be “various problems important for Lithuanian and Polish people as well as issues associated with the local cooperation”.
This recent affront of Lithuanian President is not the first in the history of Polish-Lithuanian relationship. The Lithuanian and Polish media have reminded Lithuanian President about her refusal to participate in this year’s summit of Baltic countries’ Presidents in Warsaw organised by President Bronisław Komorowski. During that meeting, the participants were going to discuss the position of Baltic countries in May summit of NATO in Chicago. Then President Grybauskaitė did not justify herself with the internal situation of her country but said honestly that she was not going to participate in Warsaw summit because there was nothing to discuss, decisions concerning NATO were not made in Warsaw, but in Brussels.
Then the situation became even worse . During the visit in Chicago Lithuanian President accused Poland of improving its relationship with Russia at the expense of interests of Lithuania that was treated as a “scapegoat”. The media has also reminded Lithuanian President about her announcement concerning “taking a break” in Polish-Lithuanian relations. “It’s better to take a break in Polish-Lithuanian relations than try to repair something that is impossible to repair.” announced President Grybauskaitė. Month ago Lithuanian President’s foreign policy advisor, Jovita Neliupšienė, repeated the opinion of her superior but in a milder form. Neliupšienė said that Lithuania is for a break in “pretentious” meetings of two countries.
A SLAP IN THE FACE OF KACZYŃSKI AND POLES FORM LITHUANIA
Polish-Lithuanian relationship have been deteriorating since April 2010. During President Lech Kaczyński’s visit in Vilnius Lithuanian parliament rejected the promised Law on the spelling of surnames which would allow for the spelling of Polish surnames in the native language. Rejecting the previously supported demands of Polish minority, President Grybauskaitė changed her position and even accused Lithuanian Poles of disloyalty to Lithuania. Year later the parliament dominated by the nationalist centre-right wing accepted the Law on Education that, according to Polish minority, worsened the situation of Polish education and limited education in Polish. Poles collected about 60 thousands of signatures against this Law. Despite the opposition, President Grybauskaitė signed the accepted Law.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Rolka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Rolka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.