Non-citizenship in Latvia is an issue that concerns not only non-citizens and pro campaigners, but also those who defend that the naturalisation process is a fair one and it follows the framework of International law.
My idea is not to expose the situation of non-citizens in the Baltic country, but to analyse it from all points of view.
Roberts Zile is chairman of Latvia’s ‘For Fatherland and Freedom’/LNNK party and an MEP in the new European Conservatives and Reformists party in the European parliament. He is former Minister of Finance (1997-1998) and Minister of Transport (2002-2004).
He said; “We have offered them the possibility to become Latvian citizens and it is up to each individual. We have been changing the legislation over the years to adapt it each particular situation. If we had not fulfilled the EU legislation, we would not have become a EU member state.
“I have personally experienced the naturalisation process within my family. My mum came from Ukraine and though she was old when she took the exams, she passed them,” added Roberts Zile.
He believes that the issue of non-citizenship in Latvia has been “exaggerated over the years” and that his country faces other important challenges in the future.
Finally, he pointed out one more thing: “Tell me about a country where non-citizens have the right to vote in national or local elections? There is none, so why should we act differently?”
This is just a short piece extracted from the chat I had with Mr Zile. Stay tuned and don’t miss the best bits!