After warning from Brussels, Government considers easier party membership
Lithuania's government is considering simplified membership in political parties of Lithuania for citizens of other countries of the European Union (EU) to avoid litigation with the European Commission.
"The Justice Ministry is considering amendments to the Law on Political Parties to prevent the violation from reaching the European Court of Justice," Jurgita Jačovskienė, adviser to Lithuania's justice minister, told BNS on Thursday.
She spoke in comment of the Brussels position, which suggests that the current language of the law is clearly discriminatory towards non-Lithuanians. Under the current scheme, citizens of other EU nations can only join parties in Lithuania after at least five years of uninterrupted residence.
In Jačovskienė's words, the Justice Ministry has suggested that there should be no restrictions for adult EU citizens, however, parliamentarians were against.
Earlier on Thursday, the European Commission warned that failure to take action within two months could result in a case to the European Court of Justice.
"The Lithuanian law currently does not allow citizens of other EU countries living in Lithuania to join a political party under the same conditions as Lithuanians. There is clear discrimination against non-national EU citizens," the EC said in a report.
Brussels said it expected the issue to be settled by the municipal elections timed for February of 2019 "in order to allow all EU citizens living in Lithuania to participate in the democratic life in Lithuania."