Lukas on immigrants: Maybe we need a Language Board to get things in order

Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa).
Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Things have gotten intolerable when Estonians have to switch to a language other than Estonian to consume simple goods and services, such as cab rides and food, Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said, adding that immigrants who do not integrate should also have to leave Estonia.

Speaking on Vikerraadio broadcast "Reporteritund" on Tuesday, Lukas urged everyone to contact the Language Inspectorate if they come across an establishment consistently breaching the Language Act.

"If you are consistently being served at a facility somewhere in such a way that they are not using Estonian — that they offer in any other language, just not Estonian — then take it to the Language Inspectorate," the minister said. "Perhaps we should turn the Language Inspectorate into the Language Board, give it more opportunities to get things in order.

"In any case, we have to defend our language and monitor everyone who comes here — that all new immigrants are integrated, and if not, that they leave Estonia," Lukas stressed.

Walking around Central Tallinn lately, the minister said, he has wondered whether all foreigners in the country actually attend university or are interested in learning the Estonian language.

"I look around in several places in the city center, Tammsaare park — I also find myself wondering, as many do, whether those young men moving around there and who apparently aren't very integrated into Estonian culture," Lukas said. "Are these really just the young nuclear physicists studying at the universities, or are there migrants coming here that aren't prepared to learn Estonian and who all kinds of Bolts and Wolts and other companies hire with no qualms whatsoever, although they don't speak any Estonian at all, and we, Estonians, have to talk to them in other languages here in order to get our food or our mail or take a cab."

In conclusion, Lukas called on everyone to remain vigilant.

"And I believe that this is worth the effort, to ensure that Estonian culture survives," he added. 


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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