- July 1, 2013
Waldemar Tomaszewski: Implementation of government programme is neither effective nor dynamic
The Lithuanian Presidency over the European Union will rather not bring the opportunity to force ahead the solution of the problems of Poles living in Lithuania. However, it can contribute to settle the issues that are important to all of the country’s citizens and that include the nuclear security policy and the equalisation of EU subsidies, claims Waldemar Tomaszewski, an MEP for Lithuania and the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania.
The priorities of the EU presidency of Lithuania, the bills submitted by members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – both passed and rejected by the Sejmas, and the issues of national minorities were brought up today during a press conference in the Sejmas. Waldermar Tomaszewski and Rita Tamašunienė, the starost of the parliamentary group of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, both took part in the conference.
“A nuclear power plant is being built in Astravyets in Belarus, which is by the border with Lithuania. Lithuania should take advantage of its position in the European Council to talk about the security issues, but also to ask straight away: Is there a future for nuclear power engineering on our continent? No one wants to be sitting on a powder keg and waiting for breakdowns similar to the recent nuclear crisis in Japan,” said Waldemar Tomaszewski.
Another important matter which Lithuania should emphasize is, according to Tomaszewski, the issue of direct farming subsidies.
“Nowadays Lithuania is on the next to the last place among the EU countries as regards the size of EU subsidies. The discrepancy between the highest and the lowest subsidies in the EU amounts 500 per cent. The European Parliament has recently passed a resolution according to which subsidies will be gradually equalised. However, the European Commission has not confirmed the decision. Lithuania has now an opportunity to aim for the principle of equality,” stressed Tomaszewski.
During the press conference the participants discussed, among others, the bills submitted by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania and passed by the Sejmas. Rita Tamašunienė, the starost of the parliamentary group of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, emphasized that one of the most important amendments concerns the increase of the untaxed minimum income and the child relief. The changes would be felt, in the first place, by the citizens with the lowest income.
According to Rita Tamašunienė, it is also important that the Sejmas accept the introduction of 5 per cent VAT on hotel services. “In 2012, when tax reliefs on hotel services were granted, the takings from the tourism sector were higher than the takings in the previous years by 21 per cent. Tourism should be one of the priority branches of the Lithuanian economy,” said Tamašunienė.
The representatives of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania could not give a clear answer to the question of when one should expect the settling of issues important for the Polish community in Lithuania, including the spelling of surnames.
“It’s a difficult question. I think it will not be soon, judging by the behaviour of some politicians. It will once again compromise the representatives of the Lithuanian authorities because the solution of these issues is included in the government’s programme. The implementation of the government programme is not particularly effective or dynamic. There is still a lot to be done,” said Waldemar Tomaszewski.
Tłumaczenie by Elwira Łykus w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Elwira Łykus within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.