Work on the Lithuanian-Polish agreement on the spelling of names and surnames

Polish-Lithuanian relations for a long time have attracted the attention of the media and the public. The nature of political and diplomatic relations between states, by its nature makes some documents, sources and information not known to the public.

Unfortunately, the consequence of this was sometimes appearing in a distortion and inaccuracies that falsified the picture of the past two decades, of the Polish-Lithuanian relations. When discussed in the media conference on “The Polish-Lithuanian relations. Truth – fabrication – interpretations “, which took place in the library of the University of Warsaw, on 18 April. It was claimed that Poland has not submitted a draft agreement with the original spelling of names and surnames of Polish origin living in Lithuania. Burden on the Polish side is responsible for the lack of recording of Polish names, in accordance with the rules of the native language.

In order to address emerging concerns and to raise the level of debate on the merits of the Polish-Lithuanian relations that the Foreign Ministry is of interest and affection, we present a brief description of the negotiations on this agreement.

Under the Polish-Lithuanian Treaty of 1994, containing a provision to guarantee to persons belonging to national minorities the opportunity to use their names and first names in the minority language, as well as a record with detailed arrangements for the spelling of names will be set out in a separate agreement, at the initiative of the Polish MINISTRY of FOREIGN AFFAIRS in this conversation with the party of Lithuania and its Polish draft agreement. He was continuously improved and edited with regard to some of the concerns and suggestions of the Lithuanian side. In February 1998, the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs A. Ananicz Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs handed RL R. Bernotasowi new Polish draft agreement

The core of the Polish position and the project was to formulate the right of minorities to write their names with an official state residence in the spelling of the mother tongue of minorities, or in the Latin alphabet and using appropriate accents. Proposed by the Polish provisions to fully comply with the findings Polish-Lithuanian Treaty and international standards. In 1999, the Lithuanian versus project presented with a proposal to write the names only in the Latin spelling, but without diacritics.

Several rounds of negotiations aimed at finding a compromise, did not yield results. In case the contract involved the successive Polish and Lithuanian politicians, both parliaments, the Council for Cooperation between the Governments of the Republic of Poland, RL and successive prime ministers. There seemed to be closest to the positive outcome of Poland and Lithuania were in December 2001, when the foreign ministers meeting of Polish and Lithuanian in Druskininkai Minister A. Valionis declared willingness to complete the contract in accordance with the Polish project, e.g. the sound and spelling of the mother tongue, or with Polish diacritics.

However, despite previous declarations, to sign an agreement it did not happen, because in March 2002, Prime Minister A. Brazauskas canceled his visit to Warsaw. Shortly thereafter, at a meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Republic of Poland Leszek Miller and RL A. Brazauskas in June 2002 included a double page Lithuanian (Lithuanian and Polish) spelling of names in passports and identity cards. During the meeting of experts 19 June 2002 in Vilnius, but it turned out that the solution is completely abstracted from existing proposals Polish and long negotiations, a spelling version proposed by the Lithuanian side actually would not create any legal effect.

In October 2002, the Polish side presented in the note handed Lithuanian Foreign Ministry’s proposal to return to the previous projects and negotiations. Since the Lithuanian party has not responded to this proposal, the negotiations were suspended. Since then, the problem of spelling was undertaken as part of the Lithuanian political debate, without the participation of the Polish side, but legislative proposals introducing the original spelling of names in official documents were not accepting the Lithuanian parliament.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2013/04/29/prace-nad-polsko-litewska-umowa-o-pisowni-imion-i-nazwisk/

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

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