- January 29, 2013
Tomaszewski: For 20 years bilingual inscriptions had been legal under the law signed by Landsbergis, however, the law was rescinded by the previous government
Waldemar Tomaszewski, a Member of European Parliament and the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, claims that there was no need to make a fuss about the verdict of bilingual inscriptions announced on Monday. The leader of EAPL believes that the bilingual inscriptions will be legalized.
“I think that everyone should be calm about the whole situation. We should make no fuss whatsoever. The verdict is not legally valid. According to some statistics about 50% of verdicts passed by a court of first instance are returned by a higher court for reexamination. What does it mean? It means that these verdicts are badly and incompetently prepared,” said Waldemar Tomaszewski for PL DELFI.
Tomaszewski states that there are different groups of nationalists and political agitators in Lithuania who are interested in blowing up such matters. He says that the case is not as complicated as some media try to present it. “It is worth emphasizing that the Polish inscriptions are placed legally. It is allowed by the Minority Act, whose amendment from 1991 enables to provide bilingual street names. The amendment was signed by Vytautas Landsbergis. For 20 years bilingual inscriptions were legal under the law signed by Landsbergis. However, they suddenly became illegal when the previous liberal-conservative government rescinded the law. The law is not retroactive. This compromises the previous government, because when we fought for independence the minorities were indispensible but, as we can see now, they are not any more,” explains the MEP.
In Tomaszewski’s opinion, many factors might have influenced the final verdict. “Was it the lack of competence? Maybe. Our international obligations are above the country’s law. Was it a political case? Maybe. I don’t know it but it’s one of the possibilities we can’t exclude,” said Tomaszewski.
Tomaszewski is convinced that this matter will be regulated, because, according to the international obligations Lithuania is forced to deal with the case. “Lithuania signed and ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of the National Minorities without any reservations. Latvia, for example, signed the Framework with some reservations,” added Tomaszewski.
Yesterday, the District Administrative Court in Vilnius pronounced that the administration of the Šalčininkai district municipality within a month should remove all plates with Polish street names on them, as they are against the Lithuanian law. Zdzisław Palewicz, the mayor of Šalčininkai district municipality, announced that the court’s verdict would be appealed.
The present government, whose part is occupied by the EAPL, announced that the issue concerning bilingual inscriptions would be resolved. After the verdict was announced, the Lithuanian Prime Minister said that in the near future the talks on a coalition level would be held. “This issue will not be resolved in the near future. (…) We will discuss it. When it is talked over, I will reveal my opinion concerning it,” Algirdas Butkevičius commented on the case.
Tłumaczenie Patrycja Olszówka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Patrycja Olszówka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.