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Vice-President of the Riigikogu and the President of the Baltic Assembly Laine Randjärv met with the President and the Vice-President of the Nordic Council Karin Åström and Hans Wallmark on Monday. Their conversation focused on the crisis in Ukraine.

“With Russia’s aggression in Eastern Ukraine and the incorporation of Crimea, the security situation of the whole Europe has changed. In this international crisis situation, the European democracies must stick together and support one another. The best security guarantee for Estonia is membership and active participation in international organisations, especially in the European Union and the NATO, as well as close cooperation in the region between the Nordic countries and the Baltic states,” Randjärv said.

Randjärv added that the Russian propaganda must on no accounts be allowed to create a feeling of fear. “Panicking is pointless in our everyday lives. We should carefully observe the events in Russia and be ready to react quickly and adequately if necessary,” Randjärv said.

The parties agreed that Russia’s military aggression in Crimea under the pretext of protecting their compatriots has created a dangerous precedent. The forced issue of Russian passports and the consequent increase of its population on the territory of another country is unacceptable.

Randjärv does not see parallels between the situation in Estonia and Ukraine. Our minorities have become used to the European cultural space and have no need or no wish for reorientation. “In this tense situation, Ukraine needs the solidarity and the support of democratic states. We, the representatives of Baltic and Nordic parliaments, should visit Ukraine more often, as well as Moldova, to get a feel of the situation and to express our support for the efforts of these countries in establishing the rule of law and in following the European values,” Randjärv said.

Randjärv emphasised that Estonia wishes to reduce the number of its residents who have no citizenship. Each permanent resident of Estonia has the right to apply for Estonian citizenship. The procedure has been continuously simplified. The new government plans to grant automatic Estonian citizenship to 1,000 children whose both parents are without citizenship, in case the parents do not submit an application to the contrary,” Randjärv said. She added that over 65 year olds will have to pass only an oral citizenship exam instead of the current oral and written ones.

Photos of the meeting

The Riigikogu Press Service