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Polish Eurocommissioner Janusz Lewandowski: Lithuanian EU presidency is no time for bilateral minority issues

Januszas Lewandowskis
Andriaus Ufarto/BFL nuotr. / Janusz Lewandowski
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuanian-Polish bilateral ethnic minority issues are not on the European agenda and the issue should not be raised in the context of the Lithuanian EU presidency, Janusz Lewandowski, European Budget and Financial Programming Commissioner representing Poland, says.

"This is absolutely not the time now to raise these questions. I think it is a bilateral oissue and is to be solved and this is not the real issue on the agenda in Europe," he told BNS on Wednesday, asked to comment on ethnic minority problems in Lithuania, voiced by Lithuanian Poles.

Following Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė's presentation of the Lithuanian EU presidency's priorities in the European Parliament on Wednesday, Polish MEP Miroslaw Piotrowski said that the Polish minority in Lithuania was discriminated against and Lithuanian authorities "are fighting against the Polish identity". He mentioned as an example that Poles could not use their native language at local institutions.

Commenting on priorities of the Lithuanian presidency, European Commissioner Lewandowski said that they were similar to those of the former Polish presidency. These were sensitive issues for all "new" EU member states, he said. But some important issues, including the Eastern Partnership, energy security and other currently important issues for Europe would now be at the center of European politics, the Polish commissioner told BNS.

Reminiscing of the Hungarian EU presidency, Hungarian MEP Gyorgy Schopflin said the first presidency experience was hard.

"It's always difficult to do it the first time. This is what we found when we did it in 2011. So, huge preparations, a great number of people are involved and the thing to understand that during the six months its not the national that counts but the European interest," the Hungarian MEP told BNS.

He believes that the Lithuanian EU presidency will be fairly easy due to the upcoming elections to the European Parliament as nothing important will happen during the Lithuanian presidency and the next Greek presidency.

Schopflin also offered some advise. "First, make sure that all papers are there by Wednesday evening because that creates a good impression. Second, be really nice to the Parliament, come to the Parliament all the time, sit at the boring discussions, make little speeches, etc. Third, you will not get more then one, maybe two issues, through. So find something that is reasonably popular on the European level, and you can probably get through. But don’t try too much because it will simply not happen," he said.

Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė presented priorities of the Lithuanian EU presidency in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The president, among other things, called on politicians not to forget to fulfil their promises on economic and financial policies.

BNS
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