Councillors in a community of Silesian villages with a large German ethnic population could face legal action after refusing to install road signs in Polish and German – despite public support for the scheme in many areas.
Residents of Krzyżowa Dolina, Szczedrzyk, Mnichus, Chobie, Krasiejów, Pustków and Schodnia voted overwhelmingly in favour of the road signs. Yes and no votes were split equally in Antoniów and Nowa Schodnia, while ‘no’ was the answer in Ozimek, Grodziec and Dylaki.
The council in Ozimek, covering all of the villages, voted against installing road signs showing Polish and German names. It is the first time in Poland that a local authority has carried out a consultation then gone against the result.
A public consultation does not oblige a council to act on the results – but Polish law does state that minorities must be protected and that their views must be respected. In this case, Ozimek’s council received support for the road signs from a minority group but acted against that.