- National Integration Centre will promote integration of third-country nationals
- Constitutional Court closed proceedings on the compliance of the law on initiation of referendums with the Constitution of Latvia
- President of Latvia Andris Berzins: young people should learn foreign languages
Vesti Segodnya reports about a new National Integration Centre (NIC) aimed at integration of third-country nationals in Latvia. The Centre was established in the framework of a project funded by the European Fund for the integration of third-country nationals. The Centre is planning to conduct 10 informative seminars in all Latvian regions about integration issues.
Yesterday, the Constitutional Court issued its decision to close the proceedings on the compliance of the law on initiation of referendums with the Constitution of Latvia. The case was initiated by 30 MPs who asked the Court to acknowledge that the procedure of the initiation of referendum does not comply with the Constitution and therefore, called to cancel to decision of the President and the Bureau of the Saeima to forward the draft law on the status of Russian language in Latvia for the national referendum. The real aim of the MPs was not to permit the referendum on Russian language at all. As reported, the referendum on granting Russian language the status of a state language in Latvia was conducted in February 2012 and the majority of citizens did not support the initiative. Latvijas Avize, Diena
Young people in Latvia should learn foreign languages, including Russian language in order to become more competitive, said the President of Latvia Andris Berzins in an interview with Vesti Segodnya. The President said that no one sees anything strange in learning of English and the same should be with Russian language because there are close economical ties with Russian speaking countries. The President stated that foreign languages will make Latvia even stronger.
- Russia’s Ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov: Latvian authorities do not understand needs of ethnic minorities
Vesti Segodnya features an interview with the Russia’s Ambassador to Latvia Aleksandr Veshnyakov. According to Mr Veshnyakov, relations between Latvia and Russia became more complicated in 2012 due to various factors and events such as accusations about Russia’s interference in Latvian internal affairs and Russophobic mood due to referendum on the status of Russian language in Latvia. The Ambassador does not see improvement of situation of Russian speaking residents of Latvia. The Ambassador believes Latvian authorities do not understand or do not want to understand needs of ethnic minorities and to ensure their rights.
- President Andris Berzins advises Latvian-speaking youth to learn Russian language
Vesti Segodnya writes about the interview with the President of the Republic of Latvia Andris Berzins published by the popular Sankt Petersburg site fontanka.ru. The President Berzins stated that he regularly advises Latvian youth to learn Russian language. According to the President Berzins, learning Russian at school is insufficient to achieve fluency, while very few Russian speakers are still live in the countryside and in the small towns. The President stated that the Russian-speaking youth is fluent in both languages, while the Latvian-speaking youth have rather poor knowledge of Russian. President Berzins believes Russian language is necessary for work within Latvia, as well as for Latvia’s international contacts. MP Vineta Porina (radical nationalist union “All for Latvia - For Fatherland and Freedom / Latvian National Independence Movement” (AFL-FFF/LNIM)), has commented the interview, stating that the President is sending a wrong signal to the population of the country.
- Society Consolidation Committee listened to immigrants who are considered as successful integration examples
The Saeima’s Society Consolidation Committee invited to its session three immigrants living in Latvia who are considered as the successful examples of integration in Latvian society. One of the invited guests, an American George Steele resides in Latvia for 18 years and got married to a Latvian. Mr Steele is proficient in Latvian language and learned it on his own initiative. According to Mr Steele he has no problems to live in Latvia, however, he made also some critical remarks towards the MPs criticizing the government for lack of funding for Latvian language courses for foreigners and for Latvianisation of foreign names in official identification documents. The other immigrant – Matias Kroll from Germany stressed that he learned Latvian language during two months. Mr Krolls consciously refused to learn and speak Russian in Latvia. Vesti Segodnya
- Amendments to the Citizenship Law are nearly complete
According to Vesti Segodnya, elaboration of a new draft amendments to the Citizenship Law is coming to an end. The most important novelty concerns dual citizenship and granting Latvian citizenship to children of non-citizens through easier procedure. According to the member of the Saeima’s subcommittee on elaboration of the Citizenship Law, MP Inese Libina-Egnere (Reforms Party), the draft is close to its final edition and it might come into force in spring 2013.