Oleg Artyukov: Language requirement as an obstacle for EU membership

Now, it has started. Though, it started most likely much earlier. In Latvia, they suddenly understood that some of their laws did not correspond with human rights. But they wanted to Europe. While EU countries could not understand why a state which calls itself a democratic one violated rights of almost a half of its population. According to RIA ‘Novosti’, Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga intends to call the parliament of her country to introducing changes in laws currently in force about Seym and local authorities election. In particular, the question is about exception of demands to candidates for deputies to prove knowledge of the state language on the top level. The Latvian President supposes that it is impossible to devote Latvian citizen during elections according to the language. However, at the same time it was declared that it was necessary to strengthen the state language’s status in the country. At least that fact is already a progress that perfect Lettish knowledge will not be demanded from candidates. In the recent years, Latvia excelled as a fighter against “Russia’s empire manners.” Of course, the attacks’ main subject were representatives of so-called national minorities: ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians. The situation looked absurdly. While not possessing perfect language knowledge, it was difficult to find a more or less good job, not speaking about political carrier. And what about marches of SS veterans? They turned out not to be war criminals, but self-sacrificing fighters for the country’s independence who suffered for their convictions. While real criminals were guerrillas annihilating these Nazis’ supporters. Though in the fight with the Soviet heritage, Lettish politicians seem again to have gone too far. For all that, in sane people’s opinion, celebrating of former (or probably not former?) Nazis on the state level cannot be regarded as a sign of Lettish democracy. And violation of the citizens’ right on the basis of language (or on any others) cannot be regarded as a norm as well. This was many times told to Latvian politicians not only in Moscow, but also in leading European capitals. It is significant, that some progress could be observed in the question only after Russia’s serious closing in with the EU. At once, Riga remembered that while pretending to become NATO and EU member it should bring its legislation into accordance with international norms. The first step was made. However, the President’s initiatives probably will not get understanding in the Seym. It also cannot be excluided. Though in general, it is time for Lettish politicians to get rid of their inferiority complex. Or else they could not be admitted to the EU.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/17/35681.html

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