• July 22, 2014
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The autumn session of the Seimas to discuss draft bills important to national minorities, including Poles

On July 17, the spring session of the Lithuanian parliament, which had started on March 10, has ended. During 51 plenary sessions, the MPs adopted over 300 bills. Among issues tackled by the Seimas were draft laws important to national minorities in Lithuania, including Poles.

One of the most important acts of the Seimas was adopting court-mandated compensation for pension cuts made during the crisis. Since Lithuania is adopting the euro on Januray 1, 2015, Lithuanian parliament approved a scenario for the exchange of litas for euros. During the spring session, the parliament adopted direct mayoral elections and new requirements for agricultural land buyers; the requirements are aimed at preventing speculation in farmland and at protecting farmers and agricultural enterprises. During the spring session, the MPs listened to the annual President’s address and the annual report on the government’s activities.

Seimas adopted amendments increasing the degree of control over credit unions and made possible for more farmers to buy cheaper dieser fuel (without excise tax) from 2015. Other groups enabled to buy cheaper fuel include pig, poultry, and mushroom farmers, as well as beekeepers.

The Lithuanian parliament increased penalties for child sexual abuse, established liability for Internet piracy, and banned property searches and arresting in front of minors.

Seimas adopted budget amendments which allow to increase spending on national defence by 130 million litas this year, making military budget of over 1 billion litas.

The parliament has begun reading draft laws on spelling of names and surnames in IDs;the work on those drafts will be continued in the autumn session. Seimas tackled two such draft bills: the bill drafted by Social Democrats Gediminas Kirkilas and Irena Šiaulienė stipulates that non-Lithuanian names will be spelled on the main ID page while using Latin-based characters. The other draft stipulates spelling names in their original form on a separate ID page.

The autumn session is also to continue discussion on the draft Law on National Minorities. Since January 1, 2010, Lithuania has no such law because the bill that had been in force for 20 years expired. Since then, national minorities in Lithuania, including Polish community and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania make effort for the Seimas to accept the law which is to regulate interests and obligations of non-Lithuanians, who constitute 16% of the country’s population.

Based on information provided by the Office of the Seimas and our own research.

Translated by Michał M. Kowalski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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