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2020.01.06 09:31

Lithuanian community in Poland underfunded – 'We are starting the year on a sadder note'

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS 2020.01.06 09:31

The Polish government is allocated insufficient funding to maintain the Lithuanian-language press and cultural events, according to Lithuanians in Poland.

Sigitas Birgelis, editor-in-chief of the punskas.pl news website and Aušra publishing house, told BNS that all ethnic communities in Poland have received a total of 16 million zloty (3.8 million euros), unchanged from last year.

"Taking the increase in inflation and the [15 percent] minimum wage [rise] into account, the amount we have is around 20 percent smaller," he said. "Aušra staff members earn minimum wages and the support, unfortunately, does not compensate that."

The Polish Interior Ministry had initially asked support applicants to cut their needs by 15-20 percent, but the ministry later backtracked following protests by communities.

"Also, there's no financial support for book publishing. We are starting the year on a sadder note," he said.

According to punskas.pl, the Aušra fortnightly magazine received the largest share of the funding for Lithuanian initiatives (300,000 zloty, or 70,500 euros). And the yearly gathering for the Lithuanian community received 23,000 zloty (5,400 euros).

Several other events also received 13,000 zloty (around 3,000 euros) each, and the 87th commemoration of the Darius and Girėnas flight over the Atlantic was allocated over 7,000 zloty (around 1,700 euros).

According to Birgelis, differently from last year, several Lithuanian events received no financial support at all.

Read more: Lithuania and Poland to tackle contentious minority education issues