Russia pressures Latvia via EU

  • 2004-07-01
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA – Deputy Foreign Minister Eleonora Mitrofanova has urged the European Union to intervene in Latvia in order to solve the situation regarding the rights of Russian-speakers in the Baltic state.

According to the Baltic News Service, Mitrofanova voiced this appeal during her speech at the World Russian Press Association Congress in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
"It will be even harder for Brussels and Strasbourg to not react on the abnormal situation in Latvia. The announcements made by the country's government representatives contradict European values and norms, stating that the Russian community does not fit into the concept of the Latvian national state," said Mitrofanova.
Speaking of the minority education reform in Latvia, she said, "Information and educational accessibility in the native tongue is one of the integral national minority rights in civilized countries preventing the risk of assimilation." "Retaining the status as a language of the world, also a U.N. official language, Russian is feeling pressure in CIS and Baltic states, its sphere of use is being reduced," she said Mitrofanova.
"I'd like to know how that fits with the announcement made by the European Commission's President Romano Prodi that the European Union is a union of national minorities," said the deputy minister.
In recent days Russia has launched another intensive information campaign against the Baltic state, with several prominent government officials holding press conference to express their indignation over various aspects of Latvian politics.Still, international organizations, including the EU and the OSCE, have concluded that Latvia's planned education reform will promote social integration and the competitiveness of minorities.