Center Party MEP Yana Toom, who has often crossed swords with the Estonian government on Russia, said people in Estonia are not racist for objecting to asylum seekers.
In an interview with ERR radio, Toom said there is simply not enough to go around in Estonia and that is the reason for people protesting against asylum seekers, most of whom are from Africa or Syria.
“For example I could not grant asylum to people from Georgia or Abkhazia, if they were not ethnic Estonians. On that topic we are very conservative, just like other poor countries,” she said.
“If money is needed for a child's operation, then our not so wealthy people actively give money. There is one other unpleasant thing not talked about in public. It is difficult to talk about democracy in a poor nation, because the poorer the people, the less democracy there is. If we need to divide up limited resources with people from elsewhere, then this creates class hatred. It is easy for Danes and Swedes to discuss the topic of asylum seekers as they have a different level of wealth,” she said.
“If they talk about democracy then they actually talk about democracy. What we are talking about is dividing up already meager resources between a larger number of people,” Toom said.
She said it is dangerous for a state if society is sharply split, such as was the case with the Cohabitation Act giving same-sex couples legal rights, and now it is with asylum seekers.
Editor: J.M. Laats