Latvian society’s shape has changed over the last twenty years. More than 15 years ago Latvia adopted its Citizenship Law in order to give firm framework on the country’s society, especially regarding those former USSR citizens. And in 2004 the Baltic state joined the EU. Altogether has given Latvia’s society a different shape from its first years of independence.
Nowadays there are lot of young Latvians who have settled in other countries seeking work opportunities and a better future. We can also see a whole generation of descendants of non-citizens who has grown up in the country. Those are only couple of examples that some politicians in the Baltic country are setting in order to justify the necessity of amendments.
The debate is on and even the President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, whose term finishes next summer, has stepped in to speak out about the issue. Mr Zatlers proposes to:
- Lift the limitations on Latvian citizens, and their descendants, exiled, those who were forced to leave the country or were deported in the past and could not return.
- Amend the Citizenship Law regarding the will to grant dual citizenship to children of Latvian citizens who were born abroad and have decided to live abroad.
Nationalist parties have proposed amendments on the law as well. Even the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība, or PBLA) and the European Latvian Association (Eiropas Latviešu apvienība, or ELA) both back the president’s proposals regarding dual citizenship.
A Saeima commission is to begin discussion on proposals to pass a new bill on Citizenship. It is worth mentioning that last September a similar bill was given to the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee, but the 9th Saeima did not have time to review the bill.
So we will have to pay attention at Saeima’s next step and how the government and the country reacts toward it.