Seimas and the World Lithuanian Community Commission

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“The referendum will take place and it will be in 2024”

On April 22 the Lithuanian Seimas and World Lithuanian Community Commission met to discuss the referendum on the preservation of citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and returning to live in Lithuania after emigration. Two resolutions were adopted, the first: On the Preservation of the Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania by Legal Referendum and Other Methods; and the second: On Promoting Return to Lithuania and More Effective Support for Returnees.

“The referendum will and will take place in 2024!” assured the Speaker of the Commission, Seimas member Dalia Asanavičiūtė, emphasizing that “the preparations that have already begun in both Seimas and the Government indicate a successful start”.

Commissioner Gediminas Ramanauskas presented the proposals of Lithuanians around the world to address the issues of preserving the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania. Chairwoman of the Lithuanian Bar Association Dr. Vigita Vėbraitė pointed out that the issues of preserving the citizenship acquired at birth due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have not been discussed, although there are only two years left before the planned referendum. She emphasized the necessity to talk about it at various levels, to organize discussions in the regions, and that the regional branches of the Lithuanian Bar Association would be happy to contribute to all these discussions.

Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, Chairman of the Seimas Human Rights Committee, began his speech by asking an intriguing question: “Is dual citizenship a human right or a privilege?” He looked at the problem of dual citizenship in a broader perspective. The parliamentarian pointed out that countries rich in immigrants have dual citizenship in the world, and recently Lithuania itself has found itself at the epicenter of immigration, when more than 40 thousand Ukrainian citizens – war refugees – arrived in Lithuania in a short time. “Of course, some of them will stay here,” said Seimas member Raskevičius, emphasizing that “the context of dual citizenship has become important in a broader perspective”.

The Chancellor of the Government Giedrė Balčytytė informed participants about the work of the government in preparation for the planned referendum on the preservation of citizenship acquired at birth. “This Government will certainly strive to do everything in its power to better prepare for the referendum on the amendment of the Constitution this time, which would allow preserving citizenship,” G. Balčytytė said.

Vytautas Sinkevičius, an honorary professor at Mykolas Romeris University, read a report on the work to be done in preparation for the forthcoming referendum on the preservation of citizenship acquired at birth, and presented the requirements for the wording to be submitted to the referendum. He emphasized that it was really necessary to react to the changed situation in Lithuania, because too many people left Lithuania and the world became global, and there is no longer a difference between living in Lithuania and abroad.

“Multiple citizenship is very important for a diasporic state like Lithuania,” said Jonas Bružas, co-chair of the commission from Chicago, emphasizing that “we are a very modern country, setting an example for Europe and the world in many places”, and calling on Lithuanians who do much for their native country to find a solution.

Commissioner Rytis Virbalis informed the commission about the problems of returnees from abroad to live in Lithuania.

Deputy Minister of the Interior Arnoldas Abramavičius presented one-stop-shop services for Lithuanians returning to Lithuania from abroad and measures to encourage their return.

Paulius Žeimys, an expert of the public institution Invest in Lithuania, presented the search for Lithuanian talent living abroad and measures to encourage them to return to live in Lithuania.

Indrė Laučienė, Head of the International Cooperation Division of the Employment Service, presented the services provided by the Employment Service to foreign Lithuanians returning to live in Lithuania, the project “Maybe to Lithuania?”

Lina Žukauskaitė, Director of the Global Lithuania Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented the results of a survey of Lithuanians living abroad on their return to Lithuania and measures to encourage their return.

Dalia Henkė, Chairwoman of the World Lithuanian Community, Rimvydas Rubavičius, Chairwoman of the World Lithuanian Youth Union, and Vida Bandis, Representative of the World Lithuanian Community in Lithuania,  also attended the meeting of the Commission .

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for May 13. The video of the sitting is published on the Seimas YouTube account. PLB.lt

 

Photos by the Seimas Chancellery (author Džoja Gunda Barysaitė)