- January 12, 2017
Linkevičius: We will do our best to make a reset in our relations with Poland
Lithuania will do its best to make a reset in the relations with Poland – said Linas Linkevičius, Lithuanian Foreign Minister in response to a question put by opposition conservative parties at the Seimas on Thursday.
“We will do our best to make a reset in our relations with Poland” – said Minister Linkevičius, adding that “it will not be easy” and that he counts on the support of the Seimas.
According to the Minister, the result of a parliament’s vote of April 2010 on the law on spelling of non-Lithuanian names in Lithuanian documents, with most members being against original spelling of non-Lithuanian names, including the Polish ones, was a big disgrace.
Among those who rejected the idea of putting names in their original spelling form was Audonius Ażubalis, the then Lithuanian Foreign Minister and conservative.
The chief of Lithuanian diplomacy pointed out that voting had been held during a visit of the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński in Vilnius. That was the last visit of the President before the Smoleńsk disaster took place.
“It was a painful lesson. For this reason, I am ashamed and ready to apologize for that again” – said Linkevičius.
Next Friday (20 January) the Lithuanian Foreign Minister makes a working visit to Poland.
The issue of spelling non-Lithuanian names, including the Polish ones, in Lithuanian documents has been raised for more than 20 years.
Currently there are two alternative bills on the spelling of names in the Seimas. One of them has been proposed by the Social Democrats, while the other – by the Conservatives. Both bills have been adopted at the first reading. The Social Democrats has proposed to legalize non-Lithuanian names by the spelling based on the Latin alphabet in the original form. The Conservatives have put forward a bill that allows the spelling of non-Lithuanian names in their original form, but merely on the subsequent pages of the passport, leaving the Lithuanian version of a name on the first page. Such a solution has not been accepted by the Lithuanian Poles.
Translated by Grzegorz Gaura within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.