• February 25, 2014
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Jerzy Baczyński: We resent Lithuanian authorities’ lack of empathy with the Polish minority

© polityka.pl

“Small countries and small European nations have a problem with their own identity” – Jerzy Baczyński, the editor-in-chief of the Polityka weekly said to zw.lt. Yesterday Jerzy Baczyński took part in the national conference “We in Europe or Europe without us” held in Vilnius. Today he visited the newsroom of the Znad Wilii Radio Station.

Ukrainian issues were the main topic of the conference. Our guest also shared with us his thoughts on the Polish domestic policy and the Polish-Lithuanian relations. “In Poland, Polish-Lithuanian relations are considered to be bad. There is something bad in the atmosphere of these official relations. There are certainly conflicts that you are more familiar with than we are. It’s about the spelling of surnames, but not only that. These problems are exploited and intensified by the politicians at both sides of the border” – Jerzy Baczyński said to zw.lt.

Hard historical-psychological situation

In the opinion of Polityka’s editor-in-chief, the attitude of the Lithuanian authorities is understandable to some extent. “We have a grievance against incumbent authorities. Against Mrs President because of the fact she does not have enough empathy with our minority and lets conflicts last for so long unnecessarily. On the other hand I am trying to understand it. I know how difficult the historical, psychological and mental situation of the young Lithuanian state’s authorities is. Small countries and small European nations often have a problem with their own identity. They try to act as if they were bigger than they really are. Each of these small nations takes a breath and tries to pretend to be bigger and more dangerous” – J. Baczyński explained.

J. Baczyński emphasised that it is becoming easier and easier to notice nationalist-populist tendencies in Europe. It is possible that eurosceptic MEPs will be in the lead after the European Parliament election. But these are the principles of democracy. The media can only try to explain to its readers that it pays to think over who they are voting for before each election.

No generous offer from the EU

The guest of the Znad Wilii Radio Station said that the fact Ukraine had given up on signing the association agreement had come as no surprise to him. Even before that, negative pieces of information had been received from Aleksander Kwaśniewski who was involved in negotiations with Ukraine. “I talked to him three days ago. After the decision had been taken. He was really disappointed. Not just him, but also a lot of observers thought it was some kind of Yanukovych’s difficult game. The fact that he tries to handle his matters between Russia and Ukraine. In spite of that, it was believed he would sign the association agreement eventually. Some people say that there is still spark of chance of the association agreement being signed. Some 5 or 10 per cent, maybe after these yesterday’s demonstrations. But I do not think so. It is hard to believe it. This decision has been already taken” – J. Baczyński declared.

Nevertheless, Polityka’s editor-in-chief emphasised that he understands the arguments of Ukraine to some extent. “Yanukovych does not hide them. Ukraine is closely connected to or even dependent on Russia. It faces the risk of economic war with Russia and gets no help from the EU. Ukraine did not receive any generous offer from the EU. The EU said to Ukraine that it would be great if it signs the agreement, but it should not expect any big money” – the reporter explained.

The refusal of the International Monetary Fund to give a loan to Ukraine also came as a severe blow.

A blow to Kaczyński

In J. Baczyński’s opinion, two parties will be the key players in the domestic policy in Poland. “Our politics has got stuck in some kind of a tense trench warfare. That is our biggest problem. We enter a new election cycle. We are going to have next four elections starting from the next year. And it seems the scenarios we know from the elections of 2012, 2007 and 2005 will replay, which means a bitter conflict between the two main parties – the Civic Platform [PO] and the Law and Justice [PiS]. It is hard for a new political force to come into being in this bitter conflict which has sharply divided the Polish political scene as well as Polish families and generations” – the editor-in-chief said.

In Jerzy Baczyński’s view, this conflict is beneficial for both parties, because a conflict mobilises the electorate. “It depends on what the election results will be. If the Law and Justice wins and if it is able to form a government, we can have a Fourth Polish Republic again so to speak. (…) It is said Jarosław Kaczyński did not recover from the trauma of his brother’s death. He blames the members of the Civic Platform for this death. The main emotion that drives him is a desire of revenge. It is hard to imagine how a revenge in a democratic system is supposed to look like” – J. Baczyński said to zw.lt.

If the Civic Platform wins the election, or wins within some kind of an alliance, since it is said that a coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance [SLD] will be formed, it can come as a severe blow to the Law and Justice. I do not want to say it will be a mortal blow. This would be the next lost election in a row. It would probably be the end of Jarosław Kaczyński’s political career” – Polityka’s editor-in-chief added.

Source: http://zw.lt/opinie/jerzy-baczynski-mamy-pretensje-do-wladz-litwy-za-brak-empatii-wobec-polskiej-mniejszosci/

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

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