Dec. 4, 2014

  • MPs discussed situation of immigrants living in Latvia
  • Minister of Culture taken new advisor on integration and media policy issues

Vesti Segodnya reports about a session of the Saeima’s Citizenship, Migration and Society Consolidation Committee. The invited representative of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs informed the MPs that there are 77,896 foreigners residing in Latvia. 27,966 foreigners have temporary residents permits and 49,930 – permanent permits. 75% of foreign citizens with permanent residence permits are former Latvian non-citizens who accepted Russia’s citizenship. The main groups of immigrants who arrive to Latvia are persons who come with an aim of family reunion, labour migrants, foreign investors and merchants, and students.

Latvijas Avize reports about a new freelance advisor of the Minister of Culture on integration and media policy issues Martins Kaprans. Mr Kaprans has already worked as advisor on integration issues with the former Minister of Culture Sarmite Elerte in 2011 and was one of the authors of the National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines for 2012-2018. Martins Kaprans believes that the most important tasks in the integration field to do is granting financial support to the NGOs; strengthening Latvian language positions especially in terms of its usage; and promoting activities and projects aimed at strengthening of common comprehension about the key points in Latvian history. Mr Kaprans also believes that strengthening Russian language programmes broadcasted by Latvia’s public TV channels is one of the tools to counter Russia’s propaganda.

Dec. 3, 2014

  • Solvita Aboltina: involvement of ethnic minorities in politics and state governance should be based on their support to Latvian values

In an interview with Latvijas Avize, head of the political party Unity, MP Solvita Aboltina stated that no cooperation with the party Concord is possible as long as it has cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party United Russia, as long as it considers that it was right to advice people to support referendum on granting Russian language status of a second state language in Latvia, and as long as the Concord is against Latvia’s support to Ukraine. Commenting a recent statement made by the Unity’s member, MP Hosams Abu Meri that sooner or later the Concord should be included in the ruling coalition, Mrs Aboltina said that Mr Abu Meri spoke about involvement of ethnic non-Latvians. She agreed that within the long-term and national security perspective, ethnic non-Latvians should be involved in politics and state governance. However, such involvement should be based on their support to the values on which Latvian state was established in 1918 and included in the Preamble to the Constitution of Latvia in 2014. According to Mrs Aboltina, it is not permissible just to select mathematically percentage of ethnic minorities for whom such values may be strange.

Dec. 2, 2014

  • Latvijas Avize prints an article about Chinese citizens residing in Latvia

According to the Chinese Embassy in Latvia, there are about 1000 Chinese citizens currently residing in Latvia. The large part of Chinese citizens received resident permits in exchange for the purchase of real estate in Latvia. Head of the Chinese Association in Latvia says that the reasons why Chinese citizens choose Latvia is nature, security, level of culture and attitude towards them. He also says that further the number of Chinese in Latvia most likely will not grow because of the amendments to the Immigration Law which raised the minimum cost of real estate required in order to receive the residence permit. Latvijas Avize

Dec. 1, 2014

  • Initiative “For United, Inclusive and Tolerant Society in Latvia” published on a social initiative platform
  • Security Police proposes to amend legal regulation on dissemination of war propaganda

Latvijas Avize reports about a new initiative published on a social initiative platform called “For United, Inclusive and Tolerant Society in Latvia.” The initiative includes summary of proposals made at a forum of Latvian ethnic minorities conducted on 14 November by the Ministry of Culture, its Advisory Committee of Ethnic Minority NGOs, and Latvian Community Initiative Foundation. Forum participants proposed:  to strengthen inclusion of representatives of all ethnicities in local communities by supporting events where alongside the state language also other languages could be used as working languages; to support projects of ethnic minority NGOs helping to preserve uniqueness of every culture; to promote new effective participation forms, especially on the Internet; to promote interaction of young people of different ethnic origins; to ensure learning of state language and ethnic minority languages; to preserve rights of ethnic minority students to pass centralised examination in their native language; to prevent closure of ethnic minority schools and to preserve minority education programs; to increase number of programmes in minority languages in local media; etc.  Authors of the initiative want these and other proposals to be included in the government’s actions plan and other corresponding policy documents.

The Security Police (SP) proposes to amend legal regulation on distribution of war propaganda. The SP considers that the war propaganda promotes radicalisation of specific persons who go to the war-torn regions with an aim to take part in the military actions and become members of terrorist or criminal organisations. The SP proposes to include in the Criminal Law liability for illegal participation in military conflicts. Vesti Segodnya

Nov. 28, 2014

  • Saeima’s Citizenship, Migration and Society Consolidation Committee discussed bilingual education and integration

Neatkariga reports about a session of the Saeima’s Citizenship, Migration and Society Consolidation Committee discussing bilingual education and integration issues. The discussion highlighted a problem with the lack of teachers with good Latvian language proficiency in minority schools and lack of funding in order to attract more professionals to schools. Head of the Society Integration Department of the Ministry of Culture Solvita Vevere proposed to organize common projects engaging representatives of different nationalities.  Therefore, one of the tasks is raising up leaders among ethnic minority young people. The Ministry of Culture asked for EUR 700,000 for integration for the 2015, however, most likely such money from state budget will not be granted.

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