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2015.09.08 13:45

PM Butkevičius evaluates Tomaševski’s EP statements as “lack of political culture”

  Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, has dismissed as “lack of political culture” the statements made by Valdemar Tomaševski who heads another coalition partner, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, about discrimination of the Polish community in Lithuania.

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, has dismissed as “lack of political culture” the statements made by Valdemar Tomaševski who heads another coalition partner, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, about discrimination of the Polish community in Lithuania.

“I think this is lack of basic political culture, I think courts in Lithuania are independent and that politicians cannot make any pressure upon courts,” Butkevičius told journalists at the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday.

Speaking at the EP earlier in the day, Tomaševski stated that “the latest scandalous developments in Lithuania against the national minorities left a bad impression and served as a fly in the ointment of the Lithuanian presidency (of the EU Council).”

“Struggle against languages of autonomous national minorities, supported by the supreme administration, is nothing else but yet another manifestation of marginal nationalism, which should not be the case in the EU,” said Tomaševski.

Speaking at the plenary, he criticised the court ruling to fine an official in Šalčininkai, an area in Lithuania largely populated by Polish nationals, more than 43,000 litas (EUR 12,500) for failure to implement a court ruling to remove bilingual street signs as under Lithuanian law, public signs must be written only in the state Lithuanian language.

Regardless of the criticism of Tomaševski, the Prime Minister also criticised the court ruling. “Sometimes court rulings in certain cases are applied in violation of certain moral principles,” said the PM.

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė accused Tomaševski of attempts to discredit Lithuanian internationally.

“Personally for Mr. Tomasevski: I think that your personal target and the goal of your political career is the discreditation of Lithuania inside Lithuania and in the house, and internationally,” the President said in the European Parliament.

On Monday, MPs representing the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, a ruling coalition party representing the Polish minority, walked out of the Seimas hall during the speech of the former Lithuanian head of state Vytautas Landsbergis at the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Soviet aggression against Lithuania, in protest of what they said was the parliament’s failure to adopt laws that would allow broader use of the Polish language in public life in Lithuania.

The EAPL and the party’s supporters in Warsaw want Lithuania to adopt laws allowing the use of bilateral Lithuanian-Polish location and street signs as well as the spelling of Polish names in ID documents using the Polish alphabet.

Poles make 6.6 per cent of the Lithuanian population.

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