Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends

Poland cheeses off Lithuania twice in a single week

(+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 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/

Leave a reply

Poland hopes Turkey would join EU

Polish President Andrzej Duda meeting his Turkish counterpart shortly before an European Union-Turkey summit has expressed a hope that the country located at the cross-roads between Europe and the Middle East would join the EU some time.

Number of people at risk of poverty in Baltics in higher than the average in EU

The ratio of people subjected to poverty or social exclusion risk in Baltic States is higher than the average in the European Union, according to Eurostat data compiled for 26 out of 28 member states in 2016.

E-voting defended in Estonia after criticism from party leader

Responding to claims from a leader of an Estonian political party that the country’s e-voting system lacks transparency, the head of e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department explained it was possible that the voters of one party are more active e-voters than supporters of other parties.

Residents’ mood worsens; people become more critical about their finances

Over the course of the past month, residents’ general mood has worsened significantly – declines have been noted on all positions analysed by the survey. Residents were critical the most in the survey about their material state – the index in this category declined from -9 to -11, according to the latest Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer.

Antāne: Saeima’s National Economy Committee has heard the transit industry’s cry

Inga Antāne, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, is satisfied with the decision that was made at the recent meeting of Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, asking the Transport Ministry to develop and present a sustainable development strategy for the industry and putting an emphasis on raising the competitiveness of railway tariffs.

Latvian’s attitude towards combating cancer in late stages seems irresponsible

The attitude towards combating cancer in late stages in Latvia remains very low, says former healthcare minister of Latvia Ingrīda Circene.

Hydrogen-powered transport technology – a reality in Latvia

There are plans to establish a hydrogen refuelling station in Riga before the end of 2017. A publicly available H2 refuelling station in Riga would secure an inter-state network of hydrogen refuelling stations: the closest other station will be established in Pernava, says Association Zero Emission Mobility Support chairman Arnis Bergs.

Estonian ministry to collect 270 000 euros from IT company over failure to build information system

Tieto Estonia, the Estonian branch of Finnish IT firm group Tieto will compensate the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs 270,000 euros for the failure of the SKAIS2 project, the aim of which was the development of a new information system for the Estonian social insurance authority, but was deemed a failure in August.

Latvia invites Iran to act constructively to ensure security

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, where he discussed about the role of Iran in the region and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in light of the upcoming report from US President Donald Trump to the Congress on Iran’s progress realizing the plan.

Vigil held in Malta over killing of investigative journalist

Several thousand people in Malta have taken part in a vigil held after news broke of the killing of an investigative journalist, who blamed Maltese government for corruption.

American exchange indexes reach record-high values; oil prices on the rise

In response to price rise of bank stocks, three leading indexes of US exchanges reached new record heights on Monday, 16 October. In addition, US Federal Reserve System manager Janet Yellen’s prediction regarding a soon inflation rise has increased confidence that base interest rate will increase in December.

54.14% more alcohol exported from Latvia; most of it to Russia

In the first eight months of 2017, a total of 102.259 million litres of alcoholic drinks was exported from Latvia, which is 54.14% more when compared with the same period of last year.

In pictures: Ireland hit by worst storm in 50 years

Three people have been killed in Ireland in the storm Ophelia, which cut off electricity networks to 120 000 homes and businesses in the country. Gusts of wind in Ireland on Monday, October 16, had reached the speed of 44 metres per second.

Tragic wildfires in Portugal and Spain

No less than 30 people have died in wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

Ašeradens to leave Latvian government at the end of November

Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens intends to leave the government after approval of the 2018 budget in the Saeima, which is scheduled for the end of November, as confirmed by Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Islamic extremists blamed for tragic terrorist attack in Somalia

The death-toll in a tragic terror attack in the eastern African state of Somalia has reached 320 people and local authorities have stated that a key member of the cell that allegedly launched the attack on Mogadishu has told them that al-Shabaab was responsible for the crime.

Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks gets new management

From now on Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks will have a new chairman: once the head of Latio Namsaimnieks has been appointed as the new head of the company. The other vacant post has been given to Ardis Pāvilsons.

Catalonia misses ultimatum deadline, Spanish government vows to act after Thursday

The separatist Spainish region of Catalonia has missed the deadline to clarify, if it has declared independence and Madrid has received a letter from the President of the autonomous region, which still needs analysis.

What will be the consequences for companies that cheated with electricity production permits

Businesses that were caught using fake permits for electricity production in mandatory procurements will not have their permits extended, says Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Latvian tourist accommodation facilities experience increase of overnight guests

The number of nights tourists and other guests spent in Latvian hotels and other tourist accommodation facilities in the first eight months of 2018 has grown 12.2% in comparison with the same period of last year, reaching 3.524 million.

Antāne: transit industry has been on thin ice lately

«The transit industry has been on thin ice lately. Russia’s decision to divert all cargoes to its ports will only smash the ice. The government and state policy-makers have two choices – wait for the ice to break completely and watch the industry drown until finally stepping in, or act now to at least reduce the crisis for the country’s national economy, workers and their families,» says President of Baltic Association – Transit and Logistics Inga Antāne.

Kučinskis evasive in evaluation of Unity’s Economy Minister candidates

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis remains evasive when it comes to assessing Unity’s Economy Minister candidates.

Amid alleged harassment scandal, Rõivas leaves post in Riigikogu

The former head of Estonian government Taavi Rõivas, who has been pointed to as allegedly having groped a woman during a visit to Singapore, has denied the claims, but has nevertheless decided to leave the of the second deputy speaker of the Estonian parliament.

De Facto: only one person was convicted of corruption in politics by KNAB in 15 years

In the past fifteen years, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau completed only one political corruption case, as concluded by De Facto programme of LTV.

Centre party victorious in Estonian local government elections

In the Estonian municipal election, held on October 15, the largest overall support has been won by Centre Party that is also the ruling party in Estonian central government.

Newest comments