TALLINN 's Estonia's opposition Center Party handed in a bill into parliament Oct. 9 which would automatically grant citizenship to the children of stateless residents of Estonia.
Under the bill, citizenship would be granted automatically to children, both of whose parents live in Estonia with a permanent residence permit at the time of the child's birth but are not citizens of Estonia.
The move would address a gap in the current law that was pointed out by EU commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, who visited Estonia last week. Under existing laws, such children are entitled to citizenship, but their parents have to go to the trouble of applying on their behalf.
The amendment would narrow the split between ethnic Estonians and Russians and reduce bureaucracy, authors claim.
There were 125,799 stateless persons living in Estonia on a permanent residence permit at the end of 2006. The number of naturalized residents was 6,523 in 2004, 7,072 in 2005 and 4,753 in 2006.