- April 24, 2014
Spelling of surnames? The issue will wait till summer
The issue concerning original spelling of foreign surnames based on Latin alphabet (including Polish ones) will be discussed again by the Lithuanian Parliament no sooner than in June, decided the ruling coalition. Originally it was planned that both drafts of acts (the governmental one by socio-democrats and the oppositional one by conservatives) will be discussed in the Parliament next Thursday. This is not the first, and probably not the last postponement of the issue which still is very controversial in Lithuanian society.
‘We will postpone it, probably until better times,’ said the initiator of one of the drafts, Irena Šiaulienė from the parliament’s social-democratic party, after the coalition meeting. She also claimed that it would be better to deal with the issue of spelling surnames after the upcoming presidential and EU Parliament elections. Irena Šiaulienė did not hide the fact that members of the coalition were under the pressure of opposition which nearly accused them of betraying Lithuanian language (!), but after the elections political tension will wear off and it will be easier to implement the law proposed by socio-democrats (which is favorable for Poles).
‘Surely the first reading has to take place during this spring session of the parliament. After that The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language should develop new rules for spelling surnames which will be later approved by the government. Then the Parliament and its committees will discuss not only the overview of the act, but also specific rules,’ explained the MP, agreeing that this procedure will take some time.
Another postponement in regulating issues important for Lithuanian Poles is not pleasing for the politicians of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (AWPL), because not so long ago the act on national minorities had also been neglected by the Parliament. It means that in the upcoming elections AWPL will not have any successes to share in the field of the so-called Polish demands after one and a half year of being in the ruling coalition.
Center-left government, which the Polish party is a part of, had committed to implement a law allowing for original spelling of Polish surnames in Lithuanian documents. Unfortunately, they failed to do that one day before the 20th anniversary of the Polish-Lithuanian Treaty from 1994, which allows spelling Polish surnames in Lithuania and Lithuanian surnames in Poland using all diacritical signs.
Based on: BNS, own information,
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.