‘There has never been and will never be consent to discrimination against Polish education in the Vilnius Region’. The European Parliament once again deals with the problems of Polish schools in Lithuania
The protection of the rights of traditional national minorities in the European Union will be discussed at the coming sessions of the European Parliament. The draft resolution will be submitted by the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages in the European Parliament. The last meeting of the Intergroup in Strasbourg (24th November) was devoted to the topic of discrimination against Polish education in Lithuania.
‘A resolution regarding the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is under preparation. There is a great chance that our political group will support it. We keep on working, because there has never been and there will be no consent to discrimination of Polish education in the Vilnius Region,’ – said Member of the European Parliament Valdemar Tomaševski. It was at his request that MEPs from the Intergroup discussed for the second time this year the complex situation of Poles in Lithuania, who are the largest national minority in the country. Last March, the chairmanship of the Intergroup – Loránt Vincze, Kinga Gal, and Francois Alfonsi – addressed a letter to the rallying Poles and appealed to the Lithuanian authorities in defence of education.
During the meeting of 24th November, the MEPs paid particular attention to the endangered Polish schools in the Trakai District.
‘The governmental program ‘Millennium Schools’ poses a particular threat to two Polish schools in the Trakai District, where also district’s authorities are unfavourable to Polish education. The Trakai self-government intends, under the guise of the reorganization of schools, to downgrade the Gymnasium of Longin Komolovski in Paluknys and the Primary School of Andžej Stelmachovski in Old Trakai to branches of other educational institutions,’ stressed Tomaševski during the meeting.
Agnieška Rynkevičienė, representative of the Parents’ Committee of the Primary School of Andžej Stelmachovski in Old Trakai, appealed to MEPs for EU level help for these schools. ‘The schools have existed since 1915. They survived 2 world wars and various authorities, and have so far retained their authenticity of teaching in Polish,’ she said.
Current liberal-nationalist authorities of Lithuania are conducting relentless actions, the aim of which is to liquidate or downgrade to a lower level several Polish schools in the Vilnius, Šalčininkai and Trakai districts (including 8 gymnasia). These days, they are hitting Polish schools under the guise of a strongly pushed governmental program ‘Millennium Schools’.
MEPs from Poland took part in the Intergroup meeting: Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Patryk Jaki, Anna Zalewska, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Elżbieta Rafalska and Krzysztof Hetman. Phd Bogusław Rogalski, International Affairs Advisor of the ECR Group in the European Parliament, also spoke on this important issue during the meeting.