Posts filed under ‘Poland’

Will the Poles sell Orlen Lietuva to the Russians?

The Lithuanian media announced that the Polish PKN Orlen is considering selling Orlen Lietuva refinery (former Mazeikiu Nafta) if it will fail to secure control over Klaipedos Nafta oil terminal.

According to the Polish daily Parket the most logical buyer of Orlen Lietuva would be a company from Russia.  The paper quoted Pawel Burzinski, an analyst from BZ WBK saying, ‘”The sale of Mazeikiai is a very possible development if it will emerge that PKN Orlen has failed to agree with Lithuania’s Government. The sale of Mazeikiu Nafta may be launched by the decision of the concern’s (PKN Orlen) board.”

Mr Burzinski thinks that the sell off scenario could be such that in the first stage of it some 10-30 pct of Orlen Lietuva could be offered to an investor with an option of increasing its stake to more than 50 pct.  In analysts’ opinion, then, the PKN Orlen eventually will withdraw from the shareholders of Orlen Lietuva.

Lithuania’s Government, on the other, regards the Klaipedos Nafta as a strategic object and has not intention of selling it to any other company.  According to the TV3 programme Savaites komentarai on 24 January, the Polish PKN Orlen is planning to sell Orlen Lietuva to Russia’s  Lukoil.  However, the Russians would buy Orlen Lietuva only if the company ‘Klaipedos Nafta’ is included into the ‘package’.

Read all article…

February 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm 5 comments

On tragedies. Speech by Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis at Conference of the European Friends of Israel

Excellencies, distinguished priests of One God, colleagues parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen!

Let me share with you some words on tragedies in plural, not only that unique we are commemorating.

Haiti disaster caused by the earthquake is an enormous and terrible human tragedy, which does continue until now.

The tsunami, which passed over Aceha and other Indonesian areas, caused tremendously huge and painful human tragedy, as well.

But what about mass murders in Rwanda, Darfur, East Timor, Kambodja, Chechnya etc.? – there we need another, different definition.

Tragedy for the victims, not for the killers.

What then about the Holodomor or death camps of Nazis and Soviet Bolsheviks, indoctrinated and premeditated for extermination day-by-day of millions of innocents? We need again a different, special definition there for the dark creatures – from the system-builders to physical perpetrators, so similar to humans – but we would abuse the beasts when calling those shaped on two legs by this very word. Wild beasts never behave in such a way. Who could kill the elder, women and children – thousands and millions – only because they were Jewish?

Allow me to say, Ladies and Gentlemen, not so many words of sorrow and sympathy to the victims we are commemorating in solidarity and mourning, as they deserve, today and here, near to Auschwitz. Requiem aeternam. This European camp of death is a particular one, as it was used for real industry of killing and only by one totalitarian power only, not by two replacing each other like it was made in Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen or even Macikai in my native Lithuania. But if we stay on it, one may ask: why do you not look into the future?

Allow me to say more words about the mysteries of the degrading human soul. It may become deadfully significant for our common future. Holocaust of the 20th century was a signal about essential failures of culture, even that called the Western one, but same time also about future disasters which are currently and worldwide coming on.

Did we receive that signal?

Read all speech

February 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Russian Charter bid may threaten Lithuania’s security

As the BNS informed a Russian NGO’s bid to start issuing so-called Russian Charters to nationals living in foreign states may come as a threat to Lithuania.

The Baltic state’s re-elected Member of European Parliament conservative Vytautas Landsbergis on Saturday thus commented to BNS news of the endeavour.  “This may become a dangerous thing, but this will depend on Russia’s policy and on how many people get tempted by this Russian Charter. It can lead to ample provocations,” the MEP said. 

The Russian Charter will act as a document confirming voluntary commitment to the state and people of Russia, the country’s regnum.ru web portal said on Friday.

Landsbergis picked at the notion of making commitments to a foreign state, when, in fact, one is a citizen of yet another.  “It would be strange if Lithuanian citizens would make commitments to the state of Russia. By undertaking such commitments the citizens would be hypocritical. This comes as a black-hearted move on their (Russia’s – BNS) part, one aimed at provoking and unsettling the state of Lithuania,” the conservative spoke. 

Landsbergis didn’t dismiss the possibility that the idea to start issuing the document in question was coordinated with the Russian authorities.

“I don’t think Russian authorities were kept in the dark. This should rouse anxiety among neighbouring states, especially Ukraine and Belarus,” said the MEP.

According to Landsbergis, the Polish Charter may have served as a poor example in this particular case.

The charters will be issued first of all to Russians living in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova and Kazakhstan, the Russian portal said.

It is necessary to take action that the approximately 30 million of Russians living outside the country maintain their ties with the historic homeland, are supported and defended, Leonid Shershnev, head of the foundation which initiated the bid, told the portal.

Recipients of the charter are likely to be eligible to certain privileges, including economic ones, like discounts.  The portal notes this practice as being in place in other countries as well, referring to the Polish Charter.

A number of Lithuanian poles living in the Vilnius region, including former MP and future MEP Valdemar Tomasevski and MP Michal Mackevic, have the Polish Charter.

News of Lithuania’s MPs having the Polish Charter spurred initiatives to question whether this document is compatible with an MP mandate and whether it is in line with the country’s Organic Law, however the Seimas voted against addressing the Constitutional Court over this matter.

The Polish Charter can be acquired by those who declare in writing their will to pertain to the Polish nation and who can prove that at least one of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents were of Polish origin or had Polish citizenship.

“The Polish Charter is a document proving your Polish origin. The charter provides its holders with the rights stipulated in the the Law on the Polish Charter adopted by the Polish Sejm on Sept. 7 2007,” reads an official brochure of the Polish Charter.

Persons holding the charter can receive long-term visas free of charge, get legal employment in Poland, carry out economic activities under the same conditions as Polish citizens, have rights to free education, emergency medical assistance, 37 percent discount off railway tickets, free access to state museums and priority right in applications for financial assistance from Polish state and municipal budgets for supporting Poles living abroad.

A brochure on the Polish Charter also underlines that having one is not the same as having Polish citizenship.

The Polish Charter can be acquired by those who declare in writing their will to pertain to the Polish nation and who can prove that at least one of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents were of Polish origin or had Polish citizenship.

Source BNS

July 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm 2 comments

Happy First Millennium – Lithuania!

1000In 1009 Lithuania’s name (Lituae) was first mentioned in the chronicles of ancient German town Kvedlinburg in reference to the death of missionary St. Bruno.

Lithuania on July 6 is marking its millennial Statehood Day.  This small nation, sandwiched between great Germanic and Slavic giants managed to survive against all odds in the world.  It experienced its glory days for few centuries with it medieval empire which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.  Some historian argue that if there was not such an empire there would not have been Belarusian and Ukrainian nations today.

It was carved up, occupied and slaughtered for few centuries to revive again and again.  It is a story of a small and great nation which held on to this piece of land next to the Baltic Sea and managed to survive.  This is why it is amazing.  Lithuania, together with its Baltic sisters managed to survive.  Despite of all difficulties at the moment we will rise like phoenix out of ashes.  Crisis are coming and going, but such nations are here to stay and prosper.

Celebratory events taking place throughout the day will be attended by Queen of Denmark Margarethe II, King Harald V of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Other distinguished guests will include President Olafur Ragnar of Iceland, President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia, President Lech Kaczynski of Poland, President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, President Tarja Halonen of Finland, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Legate of Pope Benedict XVI and Dean of the College of Cardinals, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip of Estonia, and Russia’s Minister of Culture Alexander Avdeyev among others.

Lithuania’s millennial celebration kicked off at noon with a Flag Hoisting Ceremony in Daukanto Square, next to the Office of President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, with a Holy Mass at the Vilnius Cathedral to follow, the president’s press service said in a statement.

The Holy Mass will be followed by a symbolic ceremony marking the opening of a reconstructed Royal Palace of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and a farewell to participants of the Millennium Song Festival “Song of the Centuries”, the statement says.

Later in the day the action will move over to the Museum of Applied Arts, where the honorable guests will visit millennial exhibitions on display, namely “Lithuania in Ancient Historical Sources”, “Wawel in Vilnius. From the Jagiellonian Dynasty to the end of the Republic, and “The Art of Balts”, and will attend lunch hosted by President Adamkus.

In the evening, guests will deliver addresses in Lithuania’s Millennial Song Contest, and later attend dinner hosted by Adamkus in the President’s Office.

July 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm 4 comments

World Bank forecasts 10% GDP slump for Lithuania in 2009

As the BNS informs the World Bank forecasts that Lithuania’s GDP will contract by 10 % this year.

In a report published on June 22, the World Bank warned that the Baltic countries would face the sharpest recession in Central and Eastern Europe. Latvia’s GDP is expected to slump by 13 % in 2009.

Despite relatively strong fundamentals, Poland is feeling the pinch of the crisis as well: its GDP this year is expected to grow by a mere 0.5 %.

Central and Eastern Europe’s GDP is expected to decline by 1.6 % this year and remain flat next year.

Nine countries reached agreements with the International Monetary Fund on 55.8 billion US dollars worth of loans from September 2008 to May 2009. Six of them have received aid through the World Bank, the European Commission and several other institutions.

June 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Lithuania is Among Top Five Enemies of Russia

Lithuania is among the top five enemies of Russia. This was revealed by a recent public opinion poll in Russia. One can say that the notion of Lithuania as an enemy was inculcated into the heads of common Russians by the Kremlin’s propaganda. This is true, but it does not change the essence of the issue. Unlike in 1990-1991, today Lithuania would not be able to count on moral support from Russians, which was one of the reasons why we were successful in our quest for independence. Later, when we were negotiating over the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania, favourable opinion about us among common Russians was also a very important factor.

Even ten years later, when we were trying to join NATO, one of the arguments our politicians and diplomats used in the talks with the Western partners was a poll that showed the majority of Russians did not object to our membership in the alliance. The poll also said that our membership in the alliance would not harm Russia’s relations with NATO, something Moscow’s politicians were trying to claim. Therefore, Russian politicians drew certain conclusions and started fixing the mistake of their propaganda, which at that time still counter-positioned the “good” Lithuania against the “bad” Latvia and Estonia.

Thanks to the efforts by the Kremlin’s propaganda masters, in 2004-2005 Vilnius got involved in a fierce verbal war against Moscow. The war lasted till 2008 and did not produce anything good for Lithuania: The Druzhba [friendship] oil pipeline was not reopened, the talks over compensation for the occupation damages did not commence, the Medininkai murderers were not extradited. The only thing we achieved was the loss of allies in the EU.

Russia, meanwhile, gained a strong argument in the discussions with the EU and NATO. From dawn till dusk the EU and NATO were told: “Did we not tell you that by accepting those intrigue-loving Baltic states, you would gain a source of constant disagreements with Russia?”

In 2004-2005, Russians’ opinion about the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia has started to get worse. This showed that harming the ties with the closest neighbours in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union was a deliberate and pre-planned policy of Moscow.

A fruit of this policy could be observed in May 2007, when during rioting by Russian-speakers in Tallinn hundreds of thousands of Russians, without having been urged by anyone, got involved in cyber attacks against Estonian websites. A year later, we witnessed another result of this policy in Georgia. That time, as the Russian tanks were rolling towards the neighbouring country, not only Vladimir Putin, but also millions of Russians, overcome by chauvinistic orgasm, were demanding to hang Mikhail Saakashvili “by his balls.”

If the Kremlin started some sort of a political or economic pressure campaign against Lithuania, the support from Russian citizens would be just as enthusiastic.

Source BBC Monitoring

June 20, 2009 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Online museum to guide visitors through Communist regime crimes

An online Global Museum on Communism is being launched on Tuesday in view of shedding a light on the history of the Soviet regime and the inherent crimes against humanity, and commemorating victims of the regime writes BNS.

The Lithuanian government was among donors that contributed to the project in question, earmarking 15,000 litas (EUR 4,300). The website launch will be webcast on Tuesday evening from the US capital Washington.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas says that such projects help the humanity retain the historic memory, loss of which makes “reconciliation impossible.”

“We cannot forget the crimes against the humanity committed by the two largest totalitarian regimes of the 20th century – Fascism and Stalinism. Symbolically, the project is being launched this year, which does not only mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall but also 70 years since the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact,” Usackas told BNS on Tuesday in comment of the project.

Victims of the Communist regime and their families will be invited to register in the website and share their experience. The museum will also feature papers by historians, also film recordings from key historic events.

The project was initiated by a Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, established in December of 1993 by the US Congress in view of immortalizing the memory of those fallen victim to communism and those who fought to resist it.

Project donors include governments of other Eastern European states as well as private foundations and individual contributors.

The Lithuanian government previously allocated funds to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation back in 2007 for an underway memorial in Washington erected to pay homage to victims of the regime.

June 19, 2009 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

Memorandum on Baltic interconnection plan signed in Brussels

As the BNS writes the leaders of all Baltic Sea countries and European Commission President Barroso signed in Brussels on June 18 a memorandum of understanding on the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan, thus marking the launch of the implementation of this action plan.

Lithuanian Deputy Energy Minister Romas Svedas, who is a member of the EU’s high-level group on developing the plan, confirmed the signing of the memorandum.

“This is an unprecedented fact in the European Union’s energy policy history: such an important document has been worked out within such a short period of time — eight months. The annexes [of the document] set out how and when a Baltic energy market will be established and integrated into the Nordic market,” he told BNS.

Svedas pointed out that the document identifies concrete projects, amounts of money and the main companies responsible for their implementation.

“This is a conceptual and phenomenal document and a good example for other EU regions, defining the energy development policy. This is a long-term document that is integrated into the period of Sweden’s presidency of the EU, which means that a focus will be given on a strategy for the whole Baltic Sea region, encompassing science, culture, energy and transport,” the official said to the BNS.

“The Baltic states, which are an energy island, must be integrated into the EU’s internal energy market and the energy island label has to be eliminated,” he said.

The European Commission’s president and the leaders of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden signed the memorandum on the eve of the European Council meeting in Brussels,

The memorandum underlines the need for a further development of the electricity and gas markets in the Baltic Sea region and their integration into a wider EU energy market, as well as for promoting investments.

According to the document, the three Baltic countries aim to create a level playing field in the electricity market, open up to free international trade, and establish free competition and pricing policies.

In the gas market, their main goals are to find the cheapest solution for linking Finland and the Baltic countries to an integrated European gas network and new sources of supply, as well as to accelerate the opening of the market.

The European Union has earmarked 175 million euros for the planned power interconnection under the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Lithuania. Another 100 million euros should be provided for a second interconnection between Estonia and Finland.

The countries are to submit their joint application for the EU’s funds by Jul. 15.

Source BNS

June 18, 2009 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Lithuanian EnergMin wants Leo LT off power link, N-plant projects

As the BNS reported the Energy Ministry proposes that the much-criticized national energy company Leo LT should not be allowed to build either a new nuclear power plant or power links with Sweden and Poland, and that a state-owned company should take charge of the projects.

The ministry also proposes that Leo LT should not be allowed to administer EU funds.

Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas presented the preliminary proposal to the Cabinet on 3 June.

“A state-owned company will build both the interconnection with Sweden and a new nuclear power plant. Leo LT will not have EU funds at its disposal. Those two principles are laid down in the [ministry's] conclusions,” Ridas Jasiulionis, the prime minister’s spokesman, told reporters after the Cabinet meeting BNS wrties.

The Cabinet is likely to discuss the proposal next week, he said.

The spokesman could not say which state-owned company would implement the projects.

The European Union has earmarked 175 million euros for the planned power interconnection under the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Lithuania, including the reinforcement of the power transmission network in western Latvia.

The countries are to submit their joint application for the EU’s funds by Jul. 15.

Additionally the BNS informed that a special-purpose governmental task group has proposed to raise the state’s interest in Lithuania’s national energy company Leo LT to at least 66 percent thus conferring more powers to the government to make decisions on the future of the company.

The government then could decide to use the assets of Leo LT for the financing of planned construction of a new nuclear power plant and power links, or to reorganize the company.

The Cabinet will consider the conclusions of the task group, a transcript of which has been obtained by BNS, as well as proposed legislative amendments, next week.

The construction of new nuclear facility and power links with Poland and Sweden is expected to be handed over to public companies, some shares of which could be assigned to the companies controlled by Estonia, Latvia and Poland.

The state’s holding in Leo LT could be raised to at least 66 percent via the issue of new shares exclusively to the government.

New shares might be paid up by property contributions, which would be determined via reappraisal of existing state’s contribution to the authorized capital of Leo LT. Estimation of value of the state’s property contribution will include Kruonis Hydro Accumulative Power Plant and the Kaunas Hydro-Electric Plant.

The state’s interest in Leo LT would have to be raised to 66 percent no later than in six months from the enforcement of relevant legislative amendments.

The government owns 61.7 percent of Leo LT, which was established last year as an investment vehicle in the planned new nuclear power plant and other multi-billion-litas energy projects. NDX Energija, a privately owned firm, holds the remaining 38.3 percent.

June 4, 2009 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Lithuania reminds Pilsudski’s words to Polish minister who denied Vilnius’ occupation

As the BNS informed Lithuania sent a message to Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski who recently denied Poland’s occupation of the Vilnius region.  The statement quoted  the then political figures, Marshall Jozef Pilsudski and Mykolas Riomeris, who did not question that Vilnius was a part of Lithuania.

According to information available to BNS, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas sent the reply to Sikorski’s statement via the embassy in Warsaw.

It came following a live interview of Sikorski on the Polish television a few days ago where he said that Poland had not occupied the Lithuanian capital in the interwar period.

“Lithuania believes that we occupied Vilnius in the interwar period, but we have a different take on this,” Sikorski said.

Lithuania’s stance is that Poland unlawfully occupied Vilnius in the interwar period, thus ceasing diplomatic relations between the two countries between World War I and World War II.

BNS noted that the letter sent to the Polish minister cites a speech made by Pilsudski, the head of the Polish state, in Vilnius on April 20 1922. Pilsudski then said that Vilnius had entered a new life, “which is shaping in a different manner than that of its historic past.” Pilsudski added that Vilnius had been raised to “the rank of capitals” “by enormous efforts of the Lithuanian nation.”

Sikorski will also receive a copy of a strong-worded statement made by Lithuania’s interwar lawyer Mykolas Riomeris whom Pilsudski has unsuccessfully asked to head the pro-Polish Lithuanian government. Riomeris then wrote: “Vilnius – a creation and capital of Lithuania – is and continues to be what has been developed through enormous will of generations and the nation: all other combinations will collapse, all speculative attempts to fabricate a different origin of Vilnius through the annexation act, the Seimas resolution, etc. will collapse as a feeble modern house built by today’s Poles for a profit in Warsaw or Vilnius.”

Lithuania’s response to the Polish minister’s words came a few days following reports in the Polish media about cancelled preparation of a two-language history textbook on Lithuania and Poland amid the economic “crisis.”

Vice-chairman of the Assembly of Lithuanian and Polish Parliaments, Artur Gorski, told the Catholic daily Nasz Dziennik that publishing of a Lithuanian-Polish history textbook may become a hardly feasible task in the current downturn.

“Lithuanians have a controversial view of our common history, starting with the times of Jogaila, who they just recently stopped calling a traitor, and Jozef Pilsudski for years was one of the key persecutors of Lithuanians, equalled to Stalin and Hitler,” said Gorski, a member of the Polish parliament’s Commission on Education, Science and Youth.

Lithuania maintains that Poland occupied Vilnius in 1920, thus violating the Suwalki treaty that handed Vilnius to Lithuania. Elections later held in the Vilnius region resulted in the election of a Seimas that decided to become part of Poland. Lithuania did not recognize validity of the unilateral moves and believes it was an unlawful incursion. Lithuania regained control of Vilnius in 1939.

June 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm 12 comments

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