|International Conference on the Protection of National Minorities Rights|
From the Hatred to Cooperation
For two days (3-4 December) the participants of the international conference 'European Standards of the National and Ethnic Minority Rights Protection' organised in the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius discussed and shared their opinions and observations on the European standards of protecting the rights of national and ethnic minorities. The initiator of a conference was MEP Valdemar Tomaševski. The meetings were organised under the auspices of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament.
The deliberations of the conference gained a lot of interest from the representatives of the Polish community in
As the initiator of the conference stated, the purpose of the meeting was to present how in some Member States the problems of national minorities are being solved; how starting from hatred people can come to widely understood cooperation. 'The leading idea of the conference was to bring the standards of the minority rights protection closer and convince the authorities to use them,' the MEP said.
Not a Legal, but a Political Issue
According to Mr Tomaševski,
The actions hampering the use of mother tongue in the areas where Poles constitute the vast majority of residents are incomprehensible and inexplicable. The administrative penalties for the use of bilingual information boards and street names are not acceptable in contemporary
Mr Tomaševski has also pointed that the government grants go to those national minorities' organizations, which are few and do not pose any problems to the authorities. Whereas more numerous national minorities, including Polish too, are subsidized minimally. The MEP said, that the solution for the problems of Polish national minority in
Minority as a treasure, not a problem
Michał Kamiński, the Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament, at the beginning of the conference courteously pointed out that the Polish community can be proud of its representative in the European Parliament. Moreover, the leader stressed, that the issues concerning national minorities and the protection of fundamental European values are the main tasks of European Conservatives and Reformists Group.
'Mainatining good relations with Lithuania is the principle of Polish politics, and the EU membership gives the opportunity to promote positive values and solutions, inter alia in the field of the protection of national minorities' rights. In Kamiński's opinion, the court order to remove the street name plates in Polish in the
However, according to Kamiński, the Polish state and Polish MEPs should not demonstrate too much activity in the issue of the protection of Poles in
Janusz Skolimowski, Ambassador of the
Valentinas Mazuronis, the leader of the opposition, praised the very idea of convening the conference, which 'was held in the right place and, what is important, was organised exactly in
In the Need of University
MEP Phd Lajos Bokros presented the problems of Hungarian minority in
Blingualis is not a Problem
Helena Legowicz, a member of the Congress of Poles in the
Bilingual street name plates do not interfere with anyone. The plates can be put in the localities where Poles constitute 10 percent of all inhabitants. The condition is that the Polish organizations have to ask for the plates themselves. 'In 15 communities the bilingual boards are already arranged,' Mrs Legowicz boasted. She also added, that Czech Railways on its own initiative introduced bilingual inscriptions at train stops in the localities inhabited by Poles. Moreover, Czech Government has allocated 5 million crowns for setting information boards in two languages.
Tadeuš Andžejevski analyzed and compared the situation of Lithuanians in
Phd Jan Mincevič pointed out that regardless political affiliation of the governing teams, the negative attitude toward national minorities remains constant. He listed several drastic examples of land return, e.g. Stanislaw Czajkowski has been applying for the reimbursement of his patrimony for 17 years, had 8 hearings, but his land was given to newcomers, and just the marshland near Paberžė settlement was returned to Mr Czajkowski, but he himself still does not own it. Following the adoption of the Law on 'the Great Vilnius' in 1994 10.5 thousand hectares of land were taken from the farmers from