• February 18, 2013
  • 214

The Prime Minister plays with the spelling of Polish surnames?

„Now on a special committee is working. In near future they will present their proposition. During the last term the idea of how to write names was presented but soon after it was rejected. What do I think about it? In my opinion we should change nothing, the present law is the correct one” – these words of the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičiusa which was published in Monday’s “Veidas” shocked the Polish people who live in Lithuania.

So far the Prime Minister claimed that his government – that is in coalition with the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (EAPL) – would make a decision about the issue of Polish names and the double names of streets according to the European Convention on the Rights of National Minorities. These promises were both in the Social Democratic Party election program of the Prime Minister – Butkevičius and in the program of his government that was created after the autumn elections of 2012.

On Monday afternoon the Prime Minister denied the words that were published in the weekly “Veidas”. He said that people “should not believe everything that is written”. He also emphasized that the weekly manipulate his words.

-First of all, I did not speak in that way. And it is a problem of some people who write, who work in media – by using these words the Prime Minister explained the manipulated article in the weekly. The people from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania who work with the Prime Minister did not want to comment his words. The Member of Parliament and the vice-chairman of the Parliament Jarosław Narkiewicz in the interview to the “Kurier” just said briefly:

-The time and the actions will show what the Prime Minister really does. Later on he added that the things connected with double names of streets as well as other matters which concern the national minorities are still parts of the program which is achieved by the government.

For the verification of the Prime Minister’s words the Polish national minority would not have to wait long. In the work agenda of the coalition is mentioned that during spring-summer session they must achieve, at least, the draft of the Law on National Minorities. In near future both the government and the parliament should receive the drafts of the projects that regulate the spelling of names.

-On 1 March the working group presented its proposals to the government. It contains a solution to the spelling of names and of double names as well as the other issues connected with national minorities – said the Deputy Minister of Culture from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania Edward Trusewicz. He was the most important person in the whole government’s expert group which prepares proposals for the government. According to the Minister’s opinion the proposal of spelling allow the people to write their names in each language which is based on a Latin alphabet.

The spelling of Polish names in Lithuania is a very delicate matter in the relations between Vilnius and Poland. The statements made by the Polish government that the perspective of good relations with Lithuania depends on the specific activities of Lithuanian government was took clearly by the Lithuanians media – firstly the government should solve the problem with spelling of Polish names and then the relations with Warsaw would be better.

Although the first steps on a new center-hand government in the international area suggested that the good Polish-Lithuanian relations are the most important matter, the actions show that there is a very long way to that aim. This may be proved by the stubbornness of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania connected with the changing of A-level exam from Lithuanian language for students of national minorities school. Splitting of Prime Minister speech about the spelling of Polish names can tell us that the Polish minority would have to wait long for a good solution.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2013/03/18/premier-zongluje-pisownia-polskich-nazwisk/

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


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