TALLINN - The Estonian parliament on Tuesday passed amendments to the Citizenship Act, which according to the senior member of the government coalition Center Party will render the conditions for obtaining the citizenship of Estonia more flexible.
The legislation in effect so far only enabled granting the Estonian citizenship to minors if both of their parents were of undetermined citizenship, or holders of a so-called gray passport, spokespeople for the party told BNS. When the amendments step into effect, the option to acquire the Estonian citizenship also becomes available for minors whose parent or grandparent was a gray passport holder residing in Estonia on the day of the Estonian Restoration of Independence on Aug. 20, 1991.
Deputy chairman of the Center Party group Andrei Korobeinik said that the decision to pass the bill is one of the most important initiatives in solving the problems in the Citizenship Act.
"It is definitely an improvement in the citizenship policy. While it doesn't fully eliminate the problem of gray passports, it will at least prevent their reproduction," Korobeinik said, adding that the option to obtain the Estonian citizenship under simplified procedure will hopefully help young people to better integrate in society.
Korobeinik added that it is regrettable that members of the opposition Reform Party and the Social Democratic Party, while claiming to be liberals in terms of individual freedoms, have strongly opposed the bill.
"While this is clearly a political choice, they have shown with their action, however, that in their opinion, these children do no deserve the Estonian citizenship," he said.
Altogether 65 MPs voted in favor of the adoption of the bill while 26 members of the Reform Party opposed it.