Monday, February 23, 2009

Lithuania taking down Polish street signs

Polish street sign
By the end of the month, the regional government near Vilnius, Lithuania will take down all of the street signs that are written in both Polish and Lithuanian.

Last Friday, the Supreme Administrative Court decided that street signs are to be written only in Lithuanian.

“The decision of the court is final and absolute. We are required to bow to the decision of the court,” stated the secretary of the Vilnius regional council, Renata Cytacka.

In the Wednesday edition of the Lietuvos Rytas, Jurgis Jurkeviczius, spokesperson for the government, told the paper that “if they do not remove the street signs in Polish from the Okreg Wilenska district, they will face court issues.” The Okreg Wilenski district is the equivalent of the Polish burrough.

The head of the district, Jonas Vasilauskas, does not see any problem with signs posted on private houses.

“Some will treat this as a violation of private property,” Vasilauskas told the paper.

Taking down the Polish-language signs in the district – where 60 percent of the residents are Polish – was an action initiated by Jurgis Jurkeviczius in December 2007. Since then, the affair has been in Lithuanian courts.

In accordance with the European Charter for Local Governments, which Lithuania signed and ratified, minority populations residing in Lithuania have the right to post signs in the minority language. That is the one aspect of the charter that is in conflict with Lithuanian regulations regarding their language.
  • Note: It's about time...