Estonian MEP Yana Toom (Centre/ALDE), Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins and Estonian author Kaur Kender have initiated a new petition in the European Parliament on restrictions faced by stateless residents in the EU.
"Non-citizens in Estonia pay taxes, which go to the governing bodies of the European Union. Non-citizens are subject to EU rules, but they are unable to use all the economic rights," the petition registered in the European Parliament on May 16 says according a press release published in Estonian.
On April 24, the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions voted down by a one-vote margin a petition concerning the voting rights of stateless residents initiated by Toom, Mamikins and Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka. Toom responded at the time that a new petition was already in the works.
According to the new petition, the main difference between the rights of citizens and stateless residents in the EU concerns the free movement of workers. For instance, only citizens of the EU are entitled to relocate to another member state without restrictions for the purpose of employment and to expect from the authorities of the country that they move to the same kind of attitude as they display towards their owns citizens, the Office of Yana Toom said in a press release.
There are differences when it comes to other areas of life as well. Stateless residents of the EU are entitled to visa-free entry to just 15 countries outside of the Schengen area, compared with 139 countries that Estonian citizens can enter without a visa. Nor do EU family regulations apply to stateless residents, such as in the event of divorce in a foreign country.
The Committee on Petitions is expected to review the new petition before the end of this year, Toom's office said in the press release.
As of this January, a total of 80,132 stateless citizens lived in Estonia, accounting for over six percent of the country's population.
Editor: Aili Vahtla