50 New Citizens Naturalized (1)
The nation's 50 newest citizens will receive their naturalization certificates today, October 17, at a ceremony held in the conference center of the House of Parliament.
The event will be attended by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Laine Randjärv and head of the Police and Border Guard Raivo Küüt, according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture.
Similar high-profile naturalization ceremonies have been organized by the ministry since 2008 as a way to encourage members of the nation's large stateless population, which currently numbers about 100,000, to apply for citizenship.
Efforts in this direction have had limited success, however. In 2010, only 1,184 people adopted Estonian citizenship, the lowest figure since independence.
Among the main reasons stateless residents are reluctant to apply is the requirement to pass language and citizenship examinations, as well as the fact that Estonian citizenship can complicate travel to Russia, where many of the stateless have relatives.