- January 7, 2014
I see no problem in having bilingual street or city names in Vilnius region, says Donatas Mizaras
In connection with the upcoming election for the European Parliament in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Baltic Programme of the Wnet Radio is starting a new project. From today, on the website www.radionet.pl they will be publishing interviews with young candidates for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different parties. Donatas Mizaras, a 32-year-old politician from Druskieniki and a member of the local city council since 2011, had decided to be the first to answer the questions.
Tomasz Otocki, Wnet Radio: You have been a member of the city council in Druskieniki for three years, representing the Party Order and Justice (TiT). I would like to ask you about your achievements here, in this Lithuanian resort, and what do you want to achieve as TiT’s candidate for the European Parliament?
Donatas Mizaras: I am trying to actively represent my voters and all citizens of Druskieniki. Whenever I get any requests from them, I am trying to help. Problems of people here in Druskieniki are very diverse, they concern unsolved, long-standing urban affairs, access to information, taxation issues etc. As you know, in Druskieniki city council my party TiT is in minority, we are in the opposition. In order to realize the programme of the Party Order and Justice in this resort we would have to get the majority and have influence on political decisions. Now the Social Democrats rule.
When it comes to the European Parliament elections, we should look more broadly than only at Druskieniki, because as MEPs we represent the whole Lithuania.
What is your program for youth as TiT?
Right now the most important issue for me and for the Lithuanian youth is unemployment and a question of how to survive in the countryside, not only in the capitol or in big cities. We want to pay a lot of attention to the issue of emigration from Lithuania. We promise that we will initiate development of the National Committee for Migration on the level of Lithuanian Parliament. We want as many people as possible to come back to Lithuania. We will support young families, especially those where children are born.
A more holistic approach to the TiT program?
Well, the TiT’s electoral program for the European Parliament is very broad; it includes issues of civil liberties on the country and European level, matters like model of the family, rules of justice, agricultural, environmental or energy policy, foreign policy and security. Generally speaking, we would like to pay attention to everything.
We perceive the European Union as a community of independent nation-states. We will strive for a marriage to be understood only as a relationship of a man and a woman. We want to provide a minimum income for every citizen of the EU. We will draw attention to problems of agriculture. We want the support of the European Union to include also small family farms, not only big farms. Our environmental protection or energy policy will be based on the development of renewable energy and on transparent and effective spending of the EU funds in that field.
Moving on to the country issues – Kristina Miškinienė, vice mayor of the city is representing Druskieniki in the Parliament since the autumn of 2012. What do you think about her work in the Parliament and what did she manage to do for the resort?
Mrs. Miškinienė is involved in Lithuanian policy for many years; she collected a lot of knowledge and experience which is highly respected. That is exactly why our voters gave her the mandate. Kristina Miškinienė is currently at the forefront of the parliamental Committee on Social Affairs and Labour which, in connection to the fact that LSDP (Social Democratic Party of Lithuania) is currently a ruling party, gives her many tools to make decisions and steps that will be profitable for citizens of Druskieniki and the region.
I have an impression (perhaps I’m wrong) that Kristina Miškinienė during her membership in the parliament had lost good relations with local government of Druskieniki, with the mayor and the city council. I believe that there should be better communication between MPs and local authorities of the resort. I think that Miškinienė as an MP should be more active here. But overall, I evaluate Miškinienė’s work positively. I wish her to reach her goals and realize plans.
What about the work of LSDP here in Druskieniki?
Well, they have the majority in the city council, they realize their plans, but in my opinion their goals are not always in accordance with expectations of the local community. I expect from LSDP not only to continue developing the resort (because here we are successful). What I am missing is a dialogue with local businessmen, social authorities and finally with politicians who are in opposition or who just have different opinions. We still do not have enough of such dialogue.
I see. We are a Polish program, so I have to ask about Polish issues. Are there any chances that the current government, which consists also of TiT, will solve difficult Polish problems that we talk about for years?
When it comes to Polish-Lithuanian relations, maybe I will express my view which does not necessarily conform to the position of TiT. There are many speculations about our relations, but in general, decisions are made by parties in the parliament. I personally see no problem in having bilingual names of streets or cities in Vilnius region or in places where there are many Poles living. When I was visiting Puńsk district I have noticed that there are both Polish and Lithuanian inscriptions. It does not bother anybody. Speaking about a new law on national minorities or surnames, the problem is in the interpretation of our Constitution and whether the changes that have been proposed by the Polish minority are in accordance with it. I therefore cannot declare that ‘Polish problems’ will be solved by the current government. But it should be also said that ambitions of political leaders do not always gain the acceptance of the so-called common people.
Thank you for talking.
Tłumaczenie by Anna Leśkiewicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Anna Leśkiewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.