Lithuanian Economics Minister Meets with Chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community

Lithuanian economics minister Virginijus Sinkevičius met with Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and discussed the function, content and language of amendments to the law on the protection of consumer rights. The minister said more precise amendments would be tabled in the near future in order to avoid misinterpretations and in light of suggestions made.

“I am encouraged by the frank and constructive conversation with the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. I believe this legislative package needs to be corrected so that no one has doubts about it, so that it wouldn’t be misinterpreted and wouldn’t become a means for distorting historical truth. In consideration of that, I will register [for consideration at parliament] the amendments needed in the very near future,” minister Sinkevičius said.

At a plenary session of parliament in late March, 93 MPs voted in favor of amendments proposed by the Government, 11 abstained and none voted against. The final version of the proposed amendments were drafted before the current leadership of the Economics Ministry took the post.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community expressed concerns over the amendments which would ban retail sales of goods which “distort the historical facts of Lithuania, belittle Lithuania’s history, independence, territorial integrity or constitutional order.” The Community pointed out this would serve as stimulus for the adoption at the national level of one official and “acceptable” version of Lithuanian historical events, which wouldn’t serve in the teaching of actual history but rather would become a censored interpretation of history.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss with the minister the local and international Jewish community’s concern over amendments to the consumer rights protection law. I think during our discussions we assessed the possible threats to historical truth, and having found the current proposed legislation flawed, we went on to discuss possible solutions acceptable to both sides. Points of law need to be formulated in such a way as to provide as little room as possible for possible manipulations,” chairwoman Kukliansky commented following the meeting.

The earlier amendments to the law were made at the initiative of the Lithuanian parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee in consultation with specialists from the Lithuanian military and Interior Ministry. The language of the legislation was passed to representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and academic and other institutions for review.