EKRE claims ministry hiring cultural diversity officer proof of intent to 'tear down nation state', apologizes hours later (2)

Anti-Islam and anti-immigration protest in Tallinn's Freedom Square. (Postimees/Scanpix)
9/5/2016 5:09 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

On Monday, an MP from the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) claimed in a statement that the Ministry of Culture's decision to hire a deputy secretary general for cultural diversity shows that the current government has officially abandoned the foreigner integration plan and begun building a multicultural society in Estonia. Hours later, EKRE apologized for the false accusations leveled at the government, chalking them up to a misunderstanding.

On Aug. 30, the State Secretary announced a public competition on the Government Office homepage to fill the position of Deputy Secretary General for Cultural Diversity at the Ministry of Culture.

According to MP Henn Põlluaas, deputy chairman of the EKRE Parliamentary Group, the reason for hiring this new deputy secretary general obviously "...is not to assist Estonia's historical minorities whose cultural activities the state has always supported," wrote parliamentary group spokespeople.

"The creation of the position of Deputy Secretary General for Cultural Diversity attests to the fact that the government has begun more and more brutally to implement the Social Democrats' dream of tearing down the nation state of Estonia and preparing the Estonian state and people for the arrival of large numbers of Middle Eastern and African immigrants," said the MP. "Such an objective is nothing short of criminal."

According to Põlluaas, the creation of the new position shows that the government has retreated from the objective to guarantee the preservation of the Estonian people and culture through the ages as set out in the Constitution. It would only be a matter of time until the position of a Deputy Secretary General for Islamic Culture would be established at the Ministry of Culture, he said.

In Monday's first statement, Põlluaas said that Minister of Culture Indrek Saar owed the public an explanation regarding at whose initiative, for whose money and with whose political mandate the position of deputy secretary general for cultural diversity was being established at the ministry.

EKRE: Today's release contains regrettable mistake

Later in the day, a second press release followed from EKRE in which the oppposition party apologized for a misleading press release it distributed earlier that day. EKRE told BNS on Monday afternoon that that day's press release concerning the position at the Ministry of Culture contained a regrettable mistake purportedly caused by excessive trust in the content of a job ad recently published by the Government Office.

"One could read out from said job ad the impression that the duties of the deputy secretary general in question included dealing with new immgrants as it contained references to 'shaping a tolerant society in Estonia' as well as 'sharing democratic values," explained EKRE.

"As it turned out, this [job ad] was for a previously established position whose job description includes first and foremost supporting the cultural life of Estonia's historical minorities such as the Ingrians, Old Believers, etc.," they continued. "The Conservative People's Party of Estonia is in favor of supporting historical ethnic minorities and apologizes for its mistake. At the same time, EKRE's position is that the government must not retreat from nation statehood as set out in the Constitution and the future Deputy Secretary General for Cultural Diversity must not be forced to pursue an immigration-fostering policy under pressure from Brussels."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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