- March 14, 2019
Skvernelis met with representatives of the Polish minority in the Polish Community Center
On Thursday afternoon (14 March), Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met with representatives of the Polish minority. The head of government paid a lot of attention to Polish education. As he pointed out, it is now one of the main problems.
Skvernelis stated that Lithuania should have a new National Minorities’ Act, but the project has not yet been drafted. The issue of the law is the deadlock. We have several projects and there will be a government one. The problem is how to define a national minority. There are more than 100 nationalities in Lithuania and it is difficult to draw an average from this, what rights must be guaranteed and who must be granted them. Whether it concerns only historical minorities or all minorities (…) You have to look for the golden mean. I know that this has dragged on for a long time, but it is not worth adopting a non-quality law. If there is a suitable proposal, we will be happy to consider it. – the Prime Minister has declared.
The head of government also raised the issue of education. In his opinion, schools of national minorities need special attention of the government, which should ensure adequate funding and qualifications for teachers. Skvernelis said that textbooks for Polish schools are currently being developed. The Lithuanian side is interested in this issue, because the same problem applies to the Lithuanian minority in Poland. “The adaptation of Polish textbooks in Lithuania and Lithuanian textbooks in Poland is underway. I do not think, however, that it is necessary to create a separate programme, because it would be a step backwards,” said the Prime Minister. The head of government assured that the Szymon Konarski School would be transformed into a long gymnasium. Skvernelis said that so far the ruling coalition has not considered reversing the unified Lithuanian language exam. He added that the system of enrollment in higher education should be thoroughly changed.
During the meeting, the issue of the renovation of the Cemetery on Rossa was raised. “This is the responsibility of the Vilnius local government, which allocates funds and announces tenders. The local government has a responsibility,” said Skvernelis. The Prime Minister told the audience that the government was preparing to bury the January insurgents, to which representatives of the highest level of Polish authorities will be invited. “I think this will be a step in the right direction for our relations,” the Prime Minister said.
Translated by Klara Zasztowt within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.