- February 13, 2014
Sikorski feels indignant at the behaviour of the Lithuanian authorities
“I am full of resentment over the penalty for bilingual street signs which was imposed on Boleslav Daškevič. It is incomprehensible.” – said Radosław Sikorski, the leader of Polish diplomacy, in a TVP1 programme “Polityka przy kawie” (“Politics by a coffee”).
Sikorski reported that Polish-Lithuanian relationships do not lack conversations. “I met with my with Lithuanian colleague, Linas Linkevičius, on Monday.” – he claimed. “ It is not a good question to ask Lithuania why those conversations are not effective, because it is just a matter of fulfilling the Treaty provisions. Though, it should be remembered that our Polish representatives are in the ruling coalition. This means that according to Lithuanian procedures, they should be able to solve their problems.” – added Sikorski.
The leader of Polish diplomacy pointed out that Lithuania do not obey European standards if it comes to ethnic minorities. “I am outraged with Daškevič situation. Due to European standards, in areas when there is a large community of ethnic minority, such signs should be bilingual and financed by local government’s or state’s budget. It is done in several European countries, including Poland.” – he claimed.
As Sikorski informed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland has been repeatedly intervening with this issue. The situation is also a subject of the proceedings of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and of the Council of Europe. “It is simply not sticking to the European standards. Something which should be paid from the state’s budget became a cause of a severe penalty. It is unintelligible.” – as the leader of Polish diplomacy considered.
According to the decision of the court, Boleslav Daškevič, who is the Director of the Administration of Šalčininkai district, was supposed to pay the fine of 43,4 thousand of litas for unmoved bilingual (Polish and Lithuanian) street signs until 6th February which were place on private houses.
Meanwhile, Jarosław Narkiewicz, the vice-president of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and the deputy of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (EAPL) thinks that the problem should be solved differently. “We will not pay this fine. We will aim to work out some legal regulation which would specify the rules of using ethnic minorities’ language in our country ” – said Jarosław Narkiewicz at the beginning of February.
It has been a year since the project of the Law on Ethnic Minorities is being prepared. It will allow using ethnic minorities’ language in public and to name streets and places in two languages but only in areas populated by ethnic minorities in at least 25 %. Nevertheless, Lithuanian government is delaying the passing of this Law.
Tłumaczenie by Ewa Żakowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewa Żakowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.