bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 23.08.2017 | Name days: Valgudis, Ralfs, Vitālijs
LithuaniaLithuania

Poland cheeses off Lithuania twice in a single week

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Radoslaw Sikorski, the former Foreign Minister and parliamentary speaker of Poland

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

Poland has irked Lithuania twice over the course of a single week. First, it was Poland’s TVP.info news portal posted Monday, August 7,an audio clip of the clandestine recording of a conversation between Poland’s former Foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski and the-then Orlen CEO Jacek Krawiec, where unfriendly plans against Lithuania are voiced.

In the foul language-rich conversation, the Polish cabinet member told the Orlen chief that he wanted «to teach Lithuanians a lesson» and asked him to collude.

Previously, Poland‘s Interior Ministry unveiled a plan to picture the Gate of Dawn, a much-visited Catholic shrine in Vilnius Old City, in new Polish passports. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was quick to denounce the idea as «improper», arguing that the new Polish passports should not feature images of the Gate of Dawn, a very popular site among Polish tourists, due to «the historic reasons» among other things.

Idea garnered much support

With the centennial of Polish independence nearing, Lithuania’s neighbour plans to release a new passport design and has asked the public to opine in an online survey what image for the occasion should appear in them. Among 13 options there was also an image of the church of Gate of Dawn. The image raked up the second-largest number in the e-polling.

Although most analysts in Lithuania and, to a lesser extent, in Poland did not embrace the idea of having the image in the new Polish passports, nonetheless Virginijus Savukynas, a popular TV history programme host, has spoken fiercely for the proposal, arguing that it, for Lithuania, could be the best public relations opportunity «ever» to mend so-and-so relations with Poland.

However, Lithuania‘s Foreign minister Linas Linkevičius weighed in quickly, saying that images of the Gate of Dawn should not be used in the new Polish passports.

«It is not normal to use images of a foreign country, especially knowing that our history features different pages. It is even more sensitive, when it comes to Vilnius and the fate of the region. Therefore, the circumstances should be taken into consideration,» Linkevičius told Lietuvos Žinios daily.

Following reports about the initiative for the Polish passports, the charge d’affaires of Poland had been summoned to the ministry.

«We updated him on the situation and warned that this should not be the case. We will see how things evolve, as we see more coverage in the Polish press. This has to do with more than Vilnius, this has to do with Ukraine. We know that the position of Ukrainians is similar. We are keeping an eye on the situation, we have already notified Poland about our stance and views,» the Lithuanian diplomacy chief said.

Seimas speaker wary of fallout

Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliament) Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis expressed cautiousness that «no» to Poland over the image can bend relations with the closest neighbour.

«We hope that the Polish side makes a decision that will not set the states against each other, especially about this fact,» he told Žinių Radijas news radio.

Lithuania is very sensitive when it comes to the Lithuanian passport and citizenship. Lithuania’s Poles have long been asking Lithuanian authorities to allow to write their names in their Lithuanian passports using letters of Polish alphabet, but Lithuania’s answer is «no».

Lithuanian émigré community, meanwhile, has long been attempting to have dual citizenship passed, so that the abundant expats can retain their Lithuanian citizenship, but, again, Lithuania has not come forward with the idea.

Institute of Lithuanian Passport

In the latest bid, several Lithuanian parliamentarians proposed to establish the institute of Lithuanian Passport, saying it should solve the dragged-out quest for dual citizenship.

According to the proposal, this would provide an alternative to emigrants of Lithuanian origin who do not have Lithuanian citizenship. The passport would provide emigrants with nearly all rights enjoyed by citizens, except for the right to run for and vote in elections, however, would still be able to be candidates for municipal councils.

According to the bill, holders of such passports would enjoy facilitated procedures for restoring or acquiring the Lithuanian citizenship, as well as regain the citizenship. Furthermore, holders of the passports would be able to arrive and reside and work in Lithuania, as well as have access to education, studies and research privileges.

However, PT Saulius Skvernelis expressed scepticism over the initiative.

«The card may benefit someone who consciously gave up his citizenship or was forced to choose another citizenship, however, it is not a card or a document that determines a person’s connection to his home country. As a matter of fact, we should solve the problem by managing to close the decade-long story of dual citizenship,» he said.

Polish minister’s improper language

Then the audio clip in which former Polish Foreign minister Sikorski belittles Lithuania surfaced this Monday.

The secretly recorded conversation between Sikorski, and Orlen’s Jacek Krawiec showed that Poland was seriously considering selling the Mažeikiai oil refinery in Lithuania, and in later discussions of possible closure Sikorski urged Krawiec «to teach Lithuanians a lesson».

«I want to teach Lithuanians a lesson, so that they don’t think that s***ting on Poland won’t cost anything,» Sikorski  allegedly said.

The date of the conversation is not specified; however, earlier reports suggest that Sikorski’s conversations were secretly recorded during private meetings in Warsaw restaurants in 2013 and 2014.

Poland has been for years criticizing the Lithuanian government for its failure to solve problems of Orlen Lietuva and allegedly poor conditions for its operations. The dispute was settled in early June this year, when the state-run company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and Orlen Lietuva signed a contract on freight tariffs after lengthy negotiations.

Foreign minister: conversation downgrades Lithuania

Reacting to the revelation, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said that secret recordings involving Poland’s former foreign minister «downgrade Lithuania» and is a warning for Polish politicians to view the bilateral relations «more realistically».

«The words stated by former Polish diplomacy chief Radoslaw Sikorski in a private conversation “were not far from reality ” in light of communication with some Polish politicians at the time. This is also a warning for others that they should be more realistic about the situation. This may discipline the thinking and actions of these people – I believe it makes sense and I also see possible positive effects on the evolution (of our relations),» said the Lithuanian foreign minister.

«I believe the leaks are a very serious warning for those who imagine that relations between countries can be based on the sizes of the countries, as it was in this case, and that only the interests that have power should be taken into consideration (…). The sad fact is that then administration and some of its representatives – I really do not want to generalize – viewed Lithuania without sincerity, and the relations that we developed with such difficulty, are still making progress, however, without the efforts of these politicians,» he added.

Cooperation has to be equal

Lithuania’s cooperation with Poland should be equal, and the instructions or demands to buy friendship are unacceptable, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Tuesday, August 8.

«I have always believed that bilateral cooperation, regardless of the size of countries, should be equal. We have aimed to maintain sincere and constructive relations with Poland. This is exactly what we expect from them. Lithuania finds unacceptable any instructions or demands made by any country to buy friendship,» Grybauskaitė emphasised.

Minister genuflecting to Russia?

Approached by BNN, Rokas Tračevskis, an expert on Lithuanian and Polish relations, underlined that the content of the 2014 conversations did not «surprise him at all».

«It seems they were recorded in 2014, to believe the Polish media. The era of Sikorski ministership marks a time when the Russian Foreign minister Sergeij Lavrov was the only venerable guest in one of many annual Poland-based diplomat convention in Warsaw. During it, I recall, Sikorsky subserviently would walk with the Russian counterpart to the balcony to have a cigarette. Lithuania has never flirted with Putin’s Kremlin as much as Poland and Sikorski did back then,» Tračevskis told BNN. «However, now, Sikorski calls the Russian regime «fascist».

The analyst believes if Sikorski ever makes it back to power, it would not play into the hands of Lithuania.

«The current situation (of Lithuanian and Polish relations) is nearly ideal to Lithuania:  Poland sees not only Russia as its nemesis, but also Germany and Brussels, thence it has less desire to terrorise Lithuania in the Sikorski style,» Tračevskis accentuated. «It seems that Jaroslawas Kaczyńskis (Polish PM) better understands Lithuania‘s importance to Poland‘s geopolitics, however, many Polish ultranationalists spawn in his party (Law and Justice party), therefore a possibility of anti-Lithuania excitements remains. The example of the image of the church of Gate of Dawn shows it,» he added.

Tračevskis also brought up from the countries‘ recent history another fact showing that Sikorski has some personal reasons to keep grudge against Lithuania.

In his words, the Warsaw-Vilnius conflict started in 2009 when NATO elected its new secretary general. It was almost a consensus reached by NATO countries that Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark should be elected to the position.

«However, Sikorski also wanted that post. Emanuelis Zingeris, the-then deputy chairman (now the chairman) of the Lithuanian parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, and Ažubalis, then the chairman of the same committee, stated out of the blue to Poland’s media that Lithuania will support Sikorski’s candidacy because Poland is Lithuania’s strategic partner. However, having turned ear to the opinion of the absolute majority of NATO allies, Lithuania gave its vote to Rasmussen. Sikorski took it as a personal insult,» the analyst claims.

Ref: 020/111.111.103.4878


Leave a reply

Pulks: lunches in Riga’s kindergartens should be free

Riga City Council’s Unity faction leader Olafs Pulks has sent a letter to the city council’s Education, Culture and Sports Department’s Director Guntis Helmanis, asking him to immediately perform calculations and prepare proposals for Riga’s budget project for 2018 to secure free lunches for all children of the capital’s kindergartens.

Study: poor households will gain very little from the tax reform

Poor households will gain very little from the recently approved tax reform. There is a large number of unemployed people who will not the change with PIT, according to results of a study performed by Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and economic policy research centre Biceps.

Puce: either Kucinskis has a memory like a goldfish, or he doesn’t take his own words seriously

Political party For Latvia’s Development invites Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to prove the promise he once gave to Latvian taxpayers to not change taxes in the next three years. This invitation was extended, considering information that was voiced at the 22 August meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers in relation to the search for ways to expand fiscal space.

Brivais vilnis: grey economy’s presence in fishing industry may be 40%

The total proportion of grey economy in Latvia’s fishing industry may be around 40%, says fish processing company Brivais vilnis chairman Arnolds Babris.

SRS: violations uncovered at restaurants mostly associated with illegal employment

Most of the violations uncovered by Latvian State Revenue Service during inspections at restaurants in Riga and Jurmala are associated with illegal employment and non-declaration of revenue, said SRS Director Ilze Cirule in an interview to Rīta Panorāma this morning 23 August.

Europe commemorates victims of Nazism and Stalinism

Nine years ago, MEP Inese Vaidere and four of her foreign colleagues accomplished that the European Parliament officially approved and issued a written declaration on declaring 23 August the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of European Stalinism and Nazism.

FCMC allows Latvian Central Depository to function as service provider

Finance and Capital Market Commission has decided to allow Latvian Central Depository to start providing services as a central securities depository starting from 18 September.

Without cheap labour, Liepaja prison construction may take a while

Because projects submitted by different construction companies for Liepaja prison exceed the funding that is available for the project, it is planned to cease the procurement. A new one will be announced soon, said Justice Ministry’s state secretary Raivis Kronbergs after a government meeting on Tuesday, 22 August.

Sudraba claims KNAB investigated oligarch case to the maximum extent

Investigators of the so-called oligarch case, which continue working at the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, performed their work responsibly. Information leak during the investigation, on the other hand, had impacted the investigation considerably, said head of the parliamentary investigation committee Inguna Sudraba as a visit to KNAB.

Survey: 43% of internet store users purchase something once a month

Overall, Latvian consumers are satisfied with the purchases they made on internet stores. 65.3% of respondents believe internet stores are safe and reliable. 44.7% of respondents say they have never had any problems when shopping on the internet, according to results of a survey performed by Gudriem.lv.

Government establishes prohibition to wear face-concealing clothes in public

On Tuesday, 22 August, Latvian government supported Justice Ministry’s proposed legislative draft on restrictions for face-concealing clothes, which prohibits residents from wearing such clothes in public places.

Experts explain why a teenager’s «I don’t know» is so dangerous

Most often we say things like «I don’t know» because we are afraid of making choices. Reaching their teens, youngsters become more independent, and the inability to make responsible decisions and say «no» can have serious consequences, says psychologist Sabine Vilcina and youth motivation programme «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» manager Ilze Paidere-Stake.

Traders: following VAT decline, prices of goods will decline as well

Latvian Association of Food Traders supports Agriculture Ministry’s proposal to reduce VAT rate for food and separate food product groups. Traders confirm that this step will also reduce food product prices in stores.

The most major risks and solutions for real estate purchase and rent with option to buy

To acquire housing in one’s property, often residents use rent with an option to buy. Sworn attorney Zanda Zaluma of Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns shares advice resident should keep in mind when signing real estate contracts.

Finance Minister: businessmen will be forced to pay larger wages

The current market situation shows that Latvia should speed up its education reform and think about attracting additional human resources from other countries, said Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Latvia to procure Stinger anti-air missile launchers

A mutual contract has been signed between Latvian Defence Ministry and Danish Defence Ministry for the procurement of anti-air missile launchers used by the Danish armed forces, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Oil prices and stock exchange indexes decline in Europe

On Monday, 21 August, oil prices declined. Exchange indexes in USA increased slightly, whereas exchange indexes in Europe declined because of concerns over the policy implemented by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Terrorists in Barcelona were planning three explosions

Terrorists, who performed two attacks in Catalonia last week, were initially planning to blow up three shuttle buses in crowded areas in Barcelona, as reported by El Espano.

Lawyer: Maxima wants to earn by reducing compensations for the tragedy

Maxima Latvija and Zolitude 21.11 have reached an agreement on payment of EUR 900,000 to support victims of Zolitude tragedy – EUR 5,000 to EUR 75,000 to each person, as reported by Maxima Latvija.

Producer prices in industry in Latvia grew 0.4% in July

Compared to June, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.4 % in July 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.5 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.3 %.

Enefit: Latvia reduces electricity price difference with neighbouring countries

In recent years, Latvia has managed to reduce the electricity price difference with other Baltic neighbouring countries, as reported by Enefit Chairman Janis Bethers.

Farmers Saeima: butter price will not remain high for long

The high price on butter in Latvia will not remain so high for long, said Farmers Saeima Vice-Chairperson Maira Dzelzkaleja-Burmistre in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Aseradens elected as chairman of Unity; Krisjanis Karins to lead party’s city council faction

Unity elected Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens as the new chairman of the party. MEP Krisjanis Karins has been elected as the party’s leader in Riga City Council with Santa Zarane as his deputy.

LPS manager: forming the budget, it is important for municipal funding to stay the same

In the formation process of the next year’s state budget, it is necessary to guarantee finances do not reduce for municipalities, said the chairman of Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Gints Kaminskis in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Police to organize inspections in stores; parents asked to watch their children as well

For the new school year, Riga Municipal Police will be performing regular inspections at stores, bars and cafes from 21 August to 31 August, as well as the first days of September, to make sure minors are not sold alcohol and tobacco products, BNN was told by police.