I'm not accusing president but it seems like ethnic discrimination – Lithuanian PM (media)

  • 2020-01-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Speaking about the president and opposition's criticism of Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevic, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has said he sees "a background of ethnic discrimination".

"I am not saying this about the president and I am definitely not accusing him but we see the existing background and it is getting more and more similar to ethnic discrimination," Skvernelis said in an interview with the delfi.lt new website.

Representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the prime minister also said he sees attempts to push the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance out of the ruling coalition.

"I see the biggest problem in the fact that we are moving towards possible ethnic discrimination (I don’t have specific institutions in mind). Now everything is being mentioned, including party affiliation and activity of the local authorities in Vilnius and Trakai Districts. It's a short-sighted attitude as that political force has integrated into the Lithuanian public and state very fast recently. A relationship between Lithuanian and Poland is also important in this regard. Our colleagues Polish politicians understand that and see the movement in the right direction," Skvernelis said.

According to the prime minister, the EAPL-CFA will not leave the coalition as "they are trusted political partners that have responsibility". Moreover, this party is moving away from the influence from the East.

"Because that political power has long been associated with the Eastern neighbor, and those ties are cut already today, or at least in the process thereof. But there's a wish – intentional or out of stupidity – to push it once again back towards the East. It's definitely not beneficial for our state," the prime minister said.

Skvernelis also says he sees possibilities to work in the parliament with the social democrats led by Gintautas Paluckas. And he also did not discount the possibility of the Labor Party joining the coalition, adding that Labor Party leader Viktor Uspaskich "as a person has definitely changed for the better".