New integration strategy focuses on new immigrants and cultural immersion
Estonia's new ethnic integration strategy, that will cover the period up to 2020, aims to ensure that Estonian society is well-integrated and socially cohesive. New programs are being planned for new immigrants and cultural immersion.
Last year a plan called "Lõimuv Eesti 2020" (Integrating Estonia 2020) was vetoed by the Ministry of Education and sent back for further review. Minister of Education Jevgeni Ossinovski said that it did not support the integration of Russian speakers and was too narrowly focused on receiving EU funding. The Ministry of Culture said that the many suggestions put forward by the Education Ministry have now been partially or wholly taken into account.
The aim of the strategy is to ensure that Estonian society is well-integrated and socially cohesive, that people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds actively participate in the community life and share democratic values.
The objectives of the new strategy has several different facets. "There is the issue of new immigrants. There are measures for helping the new immigrants to settle in Estonia quicker, including language classes and advice on Estonian society and culture," said Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus.
Cultural immersion is another new area.
"We have so many museums, theaters, concert halls and concerts. Museums, for example, can develop themselves and gain new visitors by offering audio guides in different languages, meaning that knowledge of our society, our country and our culture will reach more people more easily," she said.
Availability of information plays an important role in integration, and so Estonian Public Broadcasting will create a new Russian-language TV channel to promote the development of the Russian-language information space in Estonia.
"We have clear targets on how much the number of people with undetermined citizenship should decrease, on how many people will learn to fluently speak Estonian, and we have planned sociological polls, which will let us know to what extent people feel integrated to the Estonian society as Estonian citizens," Tiidus said.