A study visit and seminar on electoral rights of third country nationals, organized for 28 participants from 9 states of Central and Eastern EU, took place in Malmö last week in the framework of a project 'Fostering political participation and policy involvement of migrants in 9 Central and Eastern EU countries.'
Government, municipal and immigrants´ association representatives were invited by the Organization for Aid to Refugees and Malmö University to learn from the Swedish experience in including immigrants into public and political life. The event, supported by the European Union, was a unique learning opportunity for Central and Eastern EU experts with a view to improve participation of immigrants in local election or in five states (Czech Republic, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland) to brainstorm the idea of granting the electoral rights to third country nationals.
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights believes that Latvia should learn the experience of several other EU Member States, including those from the Central and Eastern Europe, where the third country nationals have electoral rights at local level. There is a need for initiating a discussion on permanently staying third country nationals’ (including non-citizens’) political participation, which is based on the principle of equal opportunities, and its benefits.
Project is co-funded by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals