Estonians abroad keen to be part of Estonian life via dual citizenship (9)

From left: JBANC Program Assistant Karoline Kelder, Tiina Kreek, Estonian Ambassador to the US Eerik marmei, JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau, Estonian Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur, and ÜEKN President Marju Rink-Abel.
7/24/2016 12:52 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

Estonians living abroad wish to have a say in Estonian politics, but for this they need an Estonian passport in addition to US citizenship, said Estonian World Council (ÜEKN) President Marju Rink-Abel at a meeting with Estonian Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur on Friday.

According to Ministry of the Interior spokespeople, Rink-Abel noted that for members of the Estonian community abroad, decisions made by the Estonian state regarding allowing dual citizenship are very important.

"Members of the Estonian community abroad wish not only to be informed about what is happening in Estonia but also to have a say in the development of Estonia, such as by means of taking part in elections, which is not possible without citizenship," said Rink-Abel.

During Pevkur's meeting with members of the Estonian community in Washington, DC, the opportunity for people who are Estonian citizens by birth to hold dual citizenship was examined. The topic of dual citizenship has been raised in Estonia in connection to an analysis conducted by Estonian Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise of the Citizenship Act's compliance with the Constitution, the latter of which forbids the state to strip citizens by birth of their Estonian citizenship.

Pevkur stated that allowing people who are citizens of Estonia by birth to simultaneously have citizenship of another country is altogether sensible and necessary.

"It is not normal to force people into a situation wherein a child born into a family of Estonian citizens in the US, upon reaching adulthood, is forced to make a choice between relinquishing their Estonian or US citizenship," said the minister. "We must safeguard our people, not scare the away from Estonia with choices like this."

Pevkur noted that the meeting explored the possibility of dual citizenship for citizens by birth alone, as distinct from people who became citizens by naturalization.

During his stay in Washington, Pevkur also met with Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alan D. Bersin, who agreed to visit Tallinn this September. The Estonian minister also met with former US Ambassador to Estonia and current Senior Director at the McCain Institute Michael C. Polt, as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Benjamin Ziff.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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