Adamkus: There was no dialog between two nations

© DELFI

The Civic Platform and European Parliament Member could not understand, why Lithuanians did not appreciate cooperation with Poland. In his opinion the Polish – Lithuanian relationship is as much important for Lithuania, as German – Polish relationship for Poland.  There was a presentation of opinion poll in Vilnius yesterday, about how Poles and Lithuanians perceive each other.

„We had results of the opinion poll done in France, Russia and Ukraine previously. They were about how Poland was perceived. This one is the first about Polish-Lithuanian relationship. The survey covers quite a lot” –  the President of Institute of Public Affairs Jacek Kucharczyk said.  IPA carried out the poll opinion.

Lack of dialog

The former President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, who was engaged in the improvement of the both countries relationship, took part in the presentation. „I was honored by invitation to attending the similar meeting in Warsaw, last week. I am very happy to get the opportunity to see the opinion poll results from Lithuanians’ point of view, now. It is a very important survey. (…) I think that there was lack of dialog at government and lower level between the two nations” – said Adamkus.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs Antanas Valionis emphasized, that Poles in Lithuania need to have rights to spell their names in their mother tongue original form. In his opinion such spelling would quite improve the situation. Valionis appreciates a great support Poland gives Lithuania for last 20 years. „As we talk about Polish – Lithuanian relationship, it is worth to recall few facts. Poland understood from the very beginning that the Eastern border is inviolable” – emphasized Antanas Valionis.

Poland is for Lithuania what Germany is for Poland

Paweł Zalewski – the Member of European Parliament is surprised, that Lithuanians do not appreciate the importance of Poland, as a partner. This is the same on the Polish side, he believes.  „It similarly surprised me that for Poles Lithuania is not a very important partner. (…) Poles have to recognize the Lithuania’s value for them” – the politician said. „I completely do not understand why the Polish-Lithuanian relationship is not very important for Lithuania. (…) Because Poland is as much important to Lithuania, as Germany is to Poland” – added Zalewski. Paweł Zalewski  – as many other conference participants – were talking about the economic relations between two countries, which are quite good and which can improve the political and cultural relations.

The national minorities rights

Based on the opinion poll carried out the by the Institute of Public Affairs it appears that every second Lithuanian (50%) was at least once in Poland, but only every fifth of them has got a family, acquaintances or business partners in Poland (22%). What is more, the authors of the report claim, that as much as 70% of ethnic Lithuanians do not know Polish language, and only every fifth of them understands very simple written text. Only 5% among them admitted, that they speak Polish fluently.

Only 9% of Poles visited Lithuania, 7% out of them have got their family, or any of acquaintances, there.

It is interesting that almost half of the Poles like the Lithuanians (44%), whereas only every fourth of the Lithuanian is friendly towards Poles. Polish products are highly valued in Lithuania, fortunately –  Lithuanians consider them attractive (68%) and cheap (87 proc.), the same can not be said about Poles, who are trying cepelinai or didźkukuliai when they come to Vilnius only.  Moreover, Lithuanians rate Polish economy high.

The polls tell us, that the issue of respecting the Polish minority rights in Lithuania is dividing people in both countries at large. There is no agreement about it between the interested parties as well as among Poles at large. 54% of Lithuanians consider that Poles in Lithuania are suited to their society, and although the number is bigger than half of the population, it is still not very high acceptance. Whereas the same Lithuanians in Poland do not see their national minority discriminated in any way. As much as 76 proc. Lithuanian people – the minority in Poland – asked in the poll if they felt discriminated, answered they did not feel discriminated in any way.

Poles in Lithuania are divided with regards to the question whether their rights are respected in Lithuania (44% – yes; 40% – no, 15% – do not know). There is an opinion in Poland that the Polish minority rights are not respected in Lithuania.

Source: http://pl.delfi.lt/aktualia/litwa/adamkus-zabraklo-dialogu-miedzy-dwoma-narodami.d?id=61246431

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

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