- August 13, 2019
Karbauskis: We support all activities aimed at the integration of national minorities
“If the Act on National Minorities is really missing, we are ready to consider it,” said Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Peasants’ and Greens Association, on “Day for two votes”. Last week, the new government of Saulius Skvernelis was approved by President Gitanas Nausėda and is waiting for a parliamentary vote on … the unchanged program.
Continuing reforms without corruption scandals
“This government starts working without changing the program. The government program has not been changed, the government will continue to implement reforms, a program that was approved in 2016 and which has already been largely implemented. Only three ministers changed in the government because two new parties joined the ruling coalition. However, most ministers remained in office and the work started will continue. Without any doubt, we must continue to raise money for children, we must increase pensions, we must implement education reform, continue it and provide free higher education. We need to realize what we discussed today with representatives of the Ministry of Education in the Sejm – keep in the regions of the school. Keep not at the expense of teaching quality, “said the leader of the Lithuanian Union of Peasants and Greens on Radio “Znad Wilii”.
Karbauskis also emphasized that the visions of the welfare state that the peasants and President Gitanas Nausėda have have many points of contact. “Let us hope that together with our efforts we will be able to realize the vision outlined by the president. This is possible if the Sejm, the government and the presidential center continue to cooperate as they have in recent months. I can only be glad that in these last weeks of cooperation with the presidential center there was more than during the last 2.5 years of the previous president Dali Grybauskaitė, “says Ramūnas Karbauskis.
By the way, Ramūnas Karbauskis emphasized that during his 2.5-year rule, his party was not involved in any corruption scandals. “If we also hear about some corruption scandals at the local government level, they contain the names of conservatives, social democrats, but not our party, which is the largest party of the ruling coalition. A similar situation is with the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – the Union of Christian Families – it is also a party that has never been involved in any scandals, “said Ramūnas Karbauskis.
We’ve been looking for enemies for too long in Lithuania
Note that a year ago one of the AWPL-ZChR deputies, Michał Mackiewicz, turned out to be in the very center of the invoice scandal and the Polish prosecutor’s office even charged him with criminal charges, Karbauskis replied that he did not know enough to assess this situation, but yes or otherwise it is not related to Lithuanian internal politics. “I don’t know how many policies there are in this case. Anyway, these are not issues related to the Lithuanian internal policy, the abuse of the official position by a politician or official. These are issues, as far as I know, related to the financing of certain projects. I don’t have enough competence to judge them, “said the president of the Lithuanian Union of Peasants and Greens.
Ramūnas Karbauskis did not dare to name his relations with the AWPL-ZChR leader Waldemar Tomaszewski, but he admitted that they had known each other for many years. “I am very happy that the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Union of Christian Families joined the government coalition. For the party, joining the government 1.5 years before the parliamentary elections and taking responsibility, risk and criticism on their shoulders is a very strong step. I am glad that the interests of the state dictated this decision to the party. Staying in opposition would undoubtedly be a much simpler and more comfortable solution, “says Karbauskis.
“For too long we’ve been looking for enemies in Lithuania. We – politicians. And Lithuanian Poles were created for one of these enemies. There were suggestions that they did not want independent Lithuania, they did not love Lithuania. They were lies. I hope that the AWPL-ZChR decision to join the government coalition will allow this myth to be overthrown faster. I perfectly understand that opinions about this party are divided in the Polish community. Someone likes it, somebody doesn’t like it. But this time the party took a step towards agreement, to destroy the myth that Lithuanian Poles are not patriots. AWPL-ZChR are bigger patriots than, for example, conservatives or liberals, “says Karbauskis.
There must be no standards impeding equality
The leader of the Lithuanian Union of Peasants and Greens, commenting on the enigmatic entry in the coalition agreement that the government will strive to “implement the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities'”, admitted that during the coalition negotiations this postulate was not discussed more broadly, and no specific actions were foreseen. “However, as the Union of Peasants and Greens, we have always supported all activities aimed at greater integration of our national minorities” – noted Karbauskis.
He also pre-declared support for the adoption of the National Minorities Act. “I am not a specialist in this field, I am not ready to discuss what is missing in this field today. However, if such a legal act is really missing, we are ready to consider it. If such a law is really missing – I have no doubt that AWPL-ZChR will raise this issue. And our position of the Lithuanian Union of Peasants and Greens is simple: we must ensure that there are no norms in our laws that would interfere with ensuring equality or regional development, “emphasized Ramūnas Karbauskis.
Translated by Patrycja Polanowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.