First constitution in Europe: Lithuania and Poland to mark 1791 joint act

On Wednesday, The Lithuanian Cabinet approved a 2021 programme to mark the 230th anniversary of the May 3, 1791 Constitution of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the first written constitution in Europe.

While the act is celebrated in Poland, some historians in Lithuania say it reduced the independence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and tipped the balance of power toward Warsaw.

With the improvement of Lithuanian–Polish relations in recent months, the Commonwealth period is seeing renewed attention by the countries’ politicians.

The commemoration programme will involve visits by the heads of state and a meeting between the Lithuanian Constitutional Court and the Polish Tribunal in Warsaw.

It also calls for preparing and publishing a complete set of documents of the May 3 Constitution and its translation, and organising a seminar and discussions about the historical period.

Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Neris Germanas noted that the programme was approved on the eve of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s visit to Vilnius.

“This is important because the plan has symbolic significance ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between the governments of Lithuania and Poland,” he said.

The Lithuanian parliament has designated 2021 as the Year of the Constitution of May 3 and Mutual Pledge of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations.

LRT.LT

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