Former Estonian prime minister and EU commissioner Siim Kallas said the Estonian government decision to adopt 200 asylum seekers is not going far enough as it will not satisfy those completely against immigrants, nor those who see potential to enhance the economy.
“They are so few that there will be serious problems in Estonia in creating a livable environment for them. They will turn into exotic creatures who need constant protection from xenophobia,” Kallas told Eesti Ekspress.
He said Estonia needs to adopt a smart approach to immigration in the light of a declining population, and at least 20 to 30 years is needed to see the results of any immigration policy. The current coalition, according to Kallas, is afraid of the topic and distrust other coalition partners, and it is easier to threaten voters with immigrant criminals, as those threats bring popularity.
Kallas cited Marina Kaljurand as an example of a successful descendant of immigrants.
Kaljurand who is about to be named Estonia's next foreign minister, was born, brought up and educated in Estonia, but is the daughter of a Latvian father and a Russian mother. “She is an offspring of immigrants and she has proved herself to be a patriot of Estonia,” Kallas said, adding that the reality in Europe is different from the prejudice of immigrants as criminals, pointing out that many of his hard-working colleagues and friends in Brussels are sons and daughters of immigrants.
Editor: J.M. Laats