Naturalization and Citizenship in Latvia and Estonia

16-05-2018

This in-depth analysis, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, argues that Latvia and Estonia have introduced legal statuses –non-citizenship in Latvian and undetermined citizenship in Estonia – that are unique in the European Union in that they give their holders a status that is not citizenship but that is not statelessness either suggesting that the statuses give far-reaching rights to their holders while staying short of citizenship. Moreover, the author suggests that debates about the status of non-citizens in Latvia and Aliens in Estonia need to be read against the background of the two states’ history as Soviet republics and political and legal decisions that were taken in the 1990s. She supports that Citizenship has become a very emotional and contested issue in Latvia and Estonia. She goes on to say that Latvia and Estonia bring a key question regarding citizenship to light i.e. the question of the agent of citizenship : who needs to act in issues regarding citizenship and whether it is the state´s task to confer citizenship or is it an individuals’ task to claim it.

This in-depth analysis, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, argues that Latvia and Estonia have introduced legal statuses –non-citizenship in Latvian and undetermined citizenship in Estonia – that are unique in the European Union in that they give their holders a status that is not citizenship but that is not statelessness either suggesting that the statuses give far-reaching rights to their holders while staying short of citizenship. Moreover, the author suggests that debates about the status of non-citizens in Latvia and Aliens in Estonia need to be read against the background of the two states’ history as Soviet republics and political and legal decisions that were taken in the 1990s. She supports that Citizenship has become a very emotional and contested issue in Latvia and Estonia. She goes on to say that Latvia and Estonia bring a key question regarding citizenship to light i.e. the question of the agent of citizenship : who needs to act in issues regarding citizenship and whether it is the state´s task to confer citizenship or is it an individuals’ task to claim it.

External author

Susanne Tonsmann