Bill introduces option to rescind citizenship based on special merit ({{commentsTotal}})

Yana Toom.
Yana Toom. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

On May 9 the Reform Party submitted a bill that would allow the state to strip individuals of Estonian citizenship who were naturalized for "achievements of special merit". Member of the European Parliament for Estonia, Yana Toom (Center) is one of these individuals. ERR's Estonian news asked Toom on Thursday if the Reform Party might have her in mind.

Among other things, the bill would allow the state to strip someone of Estonian citizenship if they behave in an "inappropriate" manner regarding the Republic of Estonia.

Toom has repeatedly faced sharp criticism for her views and actions regarding Russia, and in the European Parliament is one of the members who have spoken out against sanctions on Russia.

Toom said she doubts that the Reform Party submitted the bill because of her.

"To think that they came up with this bill for me would be megalomania," Toom told ERR's Estonian news on Thursday. "Though if we look at it from the perspective of Yana Toom being the only thing between Estonia and greatness, then there's a certain logic to that," she added.

Yana Toom was made an Estonian citizen by then Prime Minister Andrus Ansip (Reform) on Dec. 28, 2005. Ansip signed the paper, though Toom had been proposed by Ansip's coalition partner and Minister of Economic Affairs Edgar Savisaar. Before she was granted Estonian citizenship, Toom was a citizen of the Russian Federation.

According to the newly introduced bill, citizenship granted like this could be taken away if there has been a violation of Estonia's constitutional order, laws, "constitutional values and principles" as well as freedom and the rule of law.

Other points named by the bill include Estonian society, language, and culture.

ERR also asked chairman of the Reform Party's group in the Riigikogu, Jürgen Ligi about the new bill, who didn't have much to say except that it could be interpreted this way, but that the bill doesn't address any specific case.

Toom meanwhile sees the Reform Party's move as simply another part of its campaign for the parliamentary elections in March next year. "Also, there's no legal definition of 'inappropriate behavior,'" Toom pointed out.

If the bill should be signed into law, the next question is its constitutionality. The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, § 8, states that "No one may be deprived of Estonian citizenship because of his or her beliefs."

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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