News2019.07.16 13:33

5 key topics to watch out for during Lithuanian president's Warsaw visit

BNS 2019.07.16 13:33

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda is going to Poland for his first official visit on Tuesday. Here are five key topics to watch for during the visit:

1. Personal diplomacy

Nausėda will seek to establish a personal bond with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, and, possibly, agree on regular contacts.

In an interview with LRT before the visit, Duda said he believed that Nausėda and he were similar in their conservative approach to traditions.

Read more: Exclusive interview with Poland’s Duda – brotherly connection with Lithuania, shared values with Nausėda

Nausėda will also have get-to-know meetings with Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice party, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki who represents Poland in EU summits.

2. Security and defence

Poland plays a key role in efforts to ensure Lithuania's security. Lithuania wants its airspace to be covered by the Patriot long-range anti-missile systems that the neighbouring country is buying from the US.

Cooperation with Poland is also crucial for ensuring the defence of the so-called ‘Suwalki corridor’, a land strip of around 100 kilometers on the Lithuanian-Polish border that is wedged between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the west and Belarus on the east. In a military conflict, the seizure of the land corridor would cut off the land route for NATO allies to reach the Baltic countries.

The US and Poland have recently reached an agreement on the deployment of more American troops. Lithuania seeks an increased US military presence, too.

3. Row with Brussels

Lithuania may have to maneuver between Brussels and Warsaw in their row over Poland's judicial reform.

Last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that Poland violated the independence of its courts and EU law when it lowered the age of retirement for its Supreme Court judges.

Warsaw maintains that the reform is aimed at combatting corruption and overhauling its judicial system which the government says needs to be purged of communist-era legacy.

During Dalia Grybauskaitė's presidency, Lithuanian diplomats said they would abstain in an EU vote on sanctions on Poland.

4. Ethnic minorities

Poland may raise the issue of the situation of the Polish-speaking minority in Lithuania.

On the eve of the visit, Nausėda met with headmasters of Polish-language schools and gave the go-ahead for the Education Ministry to give the status of a "long gymnasium" to the Polish-language Simonas Konarskis School.

Another contentious issue is the spelling of Polish names in Lithuanian documents. Before he became president, Nausėda had not backed an initiative to allow the original spelling of the names of local Poles in documents.

Read more: Nausėda in Warsaw – courtesy visit or chance to tackle minority issues?

The Lithuanian community in Poland also have requests related to education. Nausėda is scheduled to meet with the local Lithuanian community on Tuesday evening.

5. First Lady diplomacy

The visit also includes a special program for First Lady Diana Nausėdienė. Accompanied by Agata Kornhauser-Duda, she will meet with athletes of the Special Olympics.

The Polish First Lady is a patron of a project for training and competitions for people with intellectual disabilities.

Nausėdienė will also visit an exhibition of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century jewelry from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme

Newest, Most read