Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
About 10% of voters are former "aliens". Aliens are allowed to vote in local elections, but the problem, from Russian minority, agenda, is coming from the national level. Memorial debacle is an example: people, electorate and authorities of Tallinn were against dismantling, but the decision was made by national parliament. BTW, on local level Russian is used, but there is a problem with pressure on Russian schools and media.

Russian parties seem to be on the out: there are two of them (not a good idea, given 5% national parliament barrier), to squabble, let the private interests run amok, did nothing about closing of the Russian TV channel, the Russian Radio station and a newspaper.

So in recent elections Russian vote went to the Centrist party of Savisaar, which has European views on minority rights. This potentially makes the Centrist party less likely to blocked with, so, when expedient, they mute the aliens issue.

Problems are not going to be solved with more representation, it's more an issue of political culture and spirit: xenophobic and nationalist rhetoric is accepted from politicians, fact that decisions affecting schools and language commissions worsening the situation are pushed  from national level without consultations with the minority, discrimination in wages and positions, no dialog with minorities, educational policies and staffing that caused higher education rates for Estonians and aliens, equal in Soviet times, now differ two fold.

Today's Estonian biggest newspaper opines on Russians: Unknown Bastard.

by blackhawk on Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 05:16:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sheesh, the European Commission's Country Profile for Estonia prior to EU accession has only this to say about the Russian minority:
Population: 1.36 million (2002), 80% citizens of Estonia, 7% citizens of other countries and 13% stateless.
Looking at the final progress report I realise that there doesn't seem to be any specific area of the EU Acquis where this issue fits. This is where a Bill of Rights would help.

Thre is, however, a couple of items from 2000 regarding language laws.

European Commission: Commission welcomes adoption of new Language law in Estonia (16/06/2000)

The Commission welcomes the new Language Law which was adopted yesterday by the Estonian Parliament. It notes with satisfaction that Estonia has thus followed its recommendations made in the Regular Report and Accession Partnership of October 1999 and worked towards compliance of the text with both international standards and the Europe Agreement.

"I warmly welcome this decision" said European Commissioner for Enlargement Günter Verheugen. "The result of today represents an important step towards striking the right balance between the legitimate objective of promoting and protecting the Estonian language with full respect of the international standards on minorities and compliance with Estonia's obligation under the Europe Agreement. This decision constitutes an additional step in Estonia's efforts to create a modern, democratic and inclusive society. The rapid consensus found in the Estonian Parliament is a clear indicator that there is a strong majority in favour of this objective".

The Commission is very confident that Estonia will also continue to strive towards reaching full compatibility with international standards and the Europe Agreement in the implementation of the law.

European Commission: Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on The Estonian Language Law and the State Integration Programme (13/09/2000)

Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on The Estonian Language Law and the State Integration Programme

The European Union welcomes the Estonian Parliament's adoption on 14 June of amendments to the Language Law. The Union notes with satisfaction that EU recommendations have been taken into account, thus bringing the law largely in conformity with the Europe Agreement. The Union supports the statement on the language law by the High Commissioner for National Minorities, Mr. Max Van Der Stoel in which he concludes that the law now largely complies with international standards. The Union trusts that the proper implementation of the law will be ensured.

At the same time the European Union acknowledges the Estonian government decision to adopt in March 2000 the State Integration Programme for the years 2000-2007. The State Integration Programme, complemented with a proper implementation plan, offers substantial scope for strengthening the process within Estonian society towards the integration of the non-Estonian speaking minority.

The Union considers these steps taken by Estonia as most encouraging signs of positive development in the integration process and will continue to work in close cooperation with the Estonian authorities to support this objective.

WTF is the "Europe Agreement"?

Europa Glossary: Europe agreement

A Europe agreement is a specific type of association agreement between the European Union and the Central and Eastern European countries that subsequently became EU candidate countries. The Europe agreement is based on respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the market economy.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 05:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is from a Russian source, but it hopefully doesn't misrepresent the Council of Europe's [not to be confused with the Council of the European Union] report.

Mosnews: Council of Europe Concerned Over Racism in Estonia, Lithuania (22.02.2006)

Council of Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has released reports on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance in four countries, including Estonia and Lithuania.


In Estonia, the number of stateless people who have obtained Estonian citizenship has been steadily increasing, the report said. But Estonia has not developed a consistent policy aimed at bringing the Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking communities together. Estonia has yet to examine the full extent of the Holocaust in Estonia and to give it its rightful place in the national debate. The report also noted that the Roma community in Estonia was still disproportionately affected by unemployment and discrimination in the field of education.

The Council of Europe admitted that ethnic Russians in Estonia were faced with serious discrimination on the way to integration into society, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance said Tuesday. Estonia has failed to accept an anti-discrimination set of regulations and the law on rights and status of national minorities, the Gazeta.Ru news website quoted the ECRI report as saying. About 140,000 Russians residing in Estonia (some eleven percent of the population) have not been granted citizenship, particularly because of a strict Estonian language test.

Among the Russian population in Estonia, the rate of unemployment is disproportionately high, and the government has not developed a policy that would draw together Russian and Estonian nationals. The commission suggested that the Estonian authorities organized a body that would fight racism and ethnic discrimination.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2007 at 05:45:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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