Autumn Session of the PLB-Seimas Commission


On November 14-16, the World Lithuanian Community (PLB) and Parliament (Seimas) Commission met for its biannual meeting in Vilnius. After discussions on various issues concerning the diaspora, the Commission passed five resolutions regarding future goals and specific tasks for next year.

A diagram in Lithuanian illustrates Lithuanian institutions that PLB works with, those being the Lithuanian government, Seimas, Lithuanian municipalities, the Foreign Ministry, the Education and Science Ministry, the Lithuanian National Culture Centre, Vytautas Magnus and Vilnius universities. The organization also interacts with executive committees of member country Lithuanian communities, international organizations, and media in Lithuania and the diaspora.

Major projects for the period 2023-2025 are World Lithuanian Day during the 2024 Song Festival in Lithuania; publication of a book on the role of PLB during 30 years of Lithuanian Independence; the 18th parliamentary session of PLB in Vilnius in 2025; the World Lithuanian Games in Palanga in 2025; the European Lithuanian Culture Days in Belgium in 2025.

The first resolution passed by the joint commission is on practical issues relates to re-emigration to Lithuania. The commission recommends that the government provide more information and advice regarding social services and health care for Lithuanians planning to return to live in Lithuania. The ministry of education and the qualification equivalence centre is urged to create an appropriate automatic evaluation system to ensure that qualifications acquired abroad are recognized.

In the second resolution on cultural projects, parliament and the administration are requested to budget funds to support ensembles wishing to participate in the 2024 Song Festival.

Thirdly, to promote active citizenship, the Commission asks parliament, the cabinet and the Central Electoral Commission to continue the process of establishing online voting, streamlining restoration of citizenship procedures, and allowing access to the Ministry of the Interior regarding migration policy.

The fourth and currently most relevant resolution is a recommendation that the governing bodies and the Electoral Commission distribute the widest possible information about the referendum on maintaining Lithuanian citizenship acquired by birth, and identify the numbers of eligible voters for the referendum in Lithuania and abroad.

The final resolution requests that municipalities make the promotion and strengthening of national identity an educational priority and organize cultural group leader training, as well as renewing emphasis on ethnology and folklore studies in teaching programs.

The PLB/Seimas session ended on November 16 with a conference on Lithuanian and Ukrainian diaspora relations. At the conference,  Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Egidijus Meilūnas spoke about the importance of support from the diaspora. In attendance were a Ukrainian parliamentary delegation headed by Ukrainian Rada vice-president Olena Kondratiuk, Lithuanian and Ukrainian diplomats and representatives of diaspora organizations.