Adopted child may change law

  • 2000-10-12
  • Aleksei Gynter
TALLINN - Estonian Population Minister Katrin Saks, of the Moderates Party, has proposed an amendment to the law on citizenship to eliminate a legal conflict between the law on citizenship and the law on family.

The amendment states that an adopted child would be declared a citizen of Estonia by birth by court decision provided at least one of the adopters was an Estonian citizen at the moment of adoption.

The family law currently in force in Estonia says adopted children are regarded as equal to natural children in all respects, and the name of the adopter is recorded in the adopted child's birth certificate as his or her parent.

"Contrary to the Family Act, the Citizenship Act regards adopted children differently from natural children, and this may have caused the misunderstanding that citizenship is a biological or genetic, and not a legal notion," Saks told BNS on Oct. 5.

The amendment to the law was sparked by the case of a three-year-old girl adopted in the northeastern town of Kohtla-Jarve this summer, who has had problems with citizenship.

Kohtla-Jarve Citizenship and Migration board (KMA) refused to issue a passport to the girl adopted by Estonian citizens when the family wanted to go abroad. Both of the parents are naturalized Estonian citizens.

KMA's spokesperson Urmas Krull said the board is now waiting for the decision of Parliament, and does not feel guilty for depriving the family of the trip. "If it will be clear that we made any mistake, the board will issue the passport and give the citizenship as soon as possible," said Krull.

Oct. 5, Saks passed the amendment project to the Reform Party, the Moderates and Pro Patria Union parliamentary factions and chairman of the coalition council Andres Tarand. Saks proposed to discuss the amendment on Oct. 9.

However, Parliament did not manage to fulfill Saks' offer and pushed the discussion back to Oct. 16.

Olari Koppel, the Moderates' parliamentary faction adviser, said Parliament had too much other work to do. "Our [the Moderates'] experts are working on the amendment project, and we think it will be approved," he said.