- April 11, 2013
Vilnius and Warsaw signed an agreement on continuing cooperation
In the City Hall, in the very centre of Vilnius, on the 11th April there was an official meeting of president of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and mayor of Vilnius, Artūras Zuokas.
During the meeting, a declaration for the 15th anniversary of cooperation between the two partner cities was signed.
Representatives of authorities participated in the meeting: deputy-mayor of the city of Vilnius Jarosław Kamiński, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius Janusz Skolimowski, manager of the Polish Institute in Vilnius Małgorzata Kasner, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania in Poland Loreta Zakarevičienė, cultural attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Poland Rasa Rimickaitė, manager of the administration of the city of Vilnius Valdas Klimantavičius and deputy-managers of the manager of administration, advisors of the mayor of the city of Vilnius, leaders of committees and groups.
–The signed declaration is a symbolic one, it is the ice-breaker in the development of Polish-Lithuanian relations, which are based on lasting cooperation and mutual help. I believe that this friendship will become a good counterweight for conflicts that appear between politicians – said ceremonially the mayor of Vilnius Artūras Zuokas. – I am really happy with the today’s historical event, when Vilnius and Warsaw became even more closely-related. –he added.
–Today in Vilnius 18 per cent of citizens speak Polish, there are 16 schools with Polish as a teaching language and a few artistic groups. The Polish community is strong and it is an important part of multi-cultural Vilnius – emphasized the host of the city.
Zuokas stressed that we share history that is many centuries old and we look at its pages together, so the agreement is one more proof that both countries are ready for good relations. Vilnius and Warsaw have been connected by friendship for 15 years. But cooperation between the cities can be counted not in tens but in hundreds of years.
Zuokas said that Vilnius and Warsaw are similar in their beauty and their rich cultural and historical heritage.
During the meeting, president of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz emphasized that Vilnius is a close partner of Warsaw. Signing the agreement means further close cooperation between the two capitals.
–In the past 15 years our cities have gone a long way, in that time they have become capitals of European Union countries of full value. In that time they have changed a lot, they have become more beautiful, modernised. They have become friendlier for their citizens. Easiness of transport and moving around allows for close contacts of citizens with the united Europe. This easiness also allows us to exchange ideas and makes it possible for science and art to flourish. We also have used this easiness – said the president of Warsaw.
During the press conference, the host of Vilnius said, that the city can learn something from Warsaw in many matters. The good relations between the two capitals could become a model for cooperation between Poland and Lithuania.
–Yesterday, while eating the dinner, we were talking a lot about how the public communication functions in Vilnius and Warsaw. What we now want to achieve is more or less what Warsaw has already done. We have someone to learn from – said the mayor of Vilnius.
The president of Warsaw has emphasized, that Warsaw and Vilnius are not competitors, but partners. The two capitals have something to learn from each other and they can exchange experience, which will help in their further development. She also stressed, that contact between people, not only between institutions, is the most important thing.
–It is culture and education that bring people together best, because these are the most important elements of interpersonal relations – added the president of Warsaw.
During the meeting, the matter of building a common highway was also discussed.
The mayor of Vilnius said that Vilnius and Warsaw need a normal, modern highway. One which would allow a citizen of Vilnius to get to Warsaw, or a citizen of Warsaw to get to Vilnius in three hours without violating the law. The hosts of the capitals unanimously said that such matters must be dealt with on the level of the state, not self-government.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.