teisipäev, oktoober 02, 2007

How It's Done

Does PACE Chairman Rene van der Linden deserve to be fired? Social Democrat Deputy Leader Sven Mikser thinks so. Mikser told AFP today that van der Linden's consistent errors during his whirlwind Baltic tour in September were cause for sacking.

""He has compromised himself so much that we think he should be removed from his post," said Mikser, who as a Social Democrat and one time Center Party member is not exactly a rabid, Russian-hating Estonian nationalist.

It would be tempting to view the Estonian response to van der Linden's visit, which included a very long letter from Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma, as being typically defensive. But then there was the visit from Council of Europe Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg this week who, unlike van der Linden, had actually done his homework.

Also, as opposed to van der Linden, Hammarberg retained a respectful tone throughout today's press conference at the Estonian foreign ministry, and made several critiques -- Estonia's prisons need to be updated and are not in standard European conditions, and citizenship laws can be eased to make citizenship more attainable for non-citizens.

How so? Hammarberg said that the "age-out" option for citizenship acquisition should be lowered from its present level (all adults born before 1930) to a level younger (those aged 65 today, for example, were born in 1942). He also said that babies born to non-citizens that are eligible for citizenship should receive it automatically, rather than having to have their parents apply for it. Both tweaks in current laws should be able to ease citizenship requirements Hammarberg said.

Hammarberg also said that after his discussions with Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Population Affairs Minister Urve Palo that he felt there was consensus in the current government that such reforms could be adopted. He also praised (!) the Estonian government for its efforts thus far.

And because he made his critiques of Estonian policies respectfully and with some praise for the government, he was listened to. Meanwhile, van der Linden's Wikipedia profile is growing longer by the hour. His suggestions may not be implemented, but at least Hammarberg left Estonia the man less scorned.

20 kommentaari:

Blogaddict ütles ...

I don't get it, they guy is an honorary member of this, a knight of that, cavalier of this, honorary member of that and yet ... I just don't get it. Don't people at those levels have an army of young advisers running around for them doing fact checking and making sure that their man is not caught with his pants down? This guy is just freestyling it. Nagu eestlased ütlevad: tuli mütsiga lööma. What's he gonna do with his wiki page now? Ask Putin to assing a bunch of nashi hackers to guard it?

Kari ütles ...

if i'm not mistaken, he is bound to leave office anyhow. just another guy willing to sell his soul to the devil. still seeing mart laar getting this guy on tv really made my day.

yeah, it's amazing. i have always thought that the propagandists know what they are lying about. i shouldn't be too har to come up with something to rebuke that nasty nazi friedmanist mr laar.

nipi ütles ...

Still one issue i do not understand. Concerning levels in prison. Is it fair that we as taxpayers have to pay for the food and welfare of prisoners - even more per face than as example a worker with minimal salary is able to allow at all?
Count the expenditures per prisoner and compare it with education or health care. And I feel that this comparison is well out of balance if we compare the same relations with the levels of so-called old EU states. That they demand, that our prisoners have to live as well as theirs. But who defends then workers with minimal fee, families with children or retired people?
Imagine that the house for elderly people has montly rate much higher than retirement fee (pension). So for retired person wiser is to do the crime and go to prison, it would cost less for him than living in real world.

Giustino ütles ...

Actually, Scandinavian prisons are like penthouses. Even maximum security comes with 24-hour TV, and don't forget adult entertainment at night!

I met a car thief in Copenhagen who was quite content about going to jail. He said they bring you breakfast on a tray and you get to play video games all day.

Andres Sehr ütles ...

Send the convicts here:
http://www.cnn.com/US/9907/27/tough.sheriff/

Giustino ütles ...

still seeing mart laar getting this guy on tv really made my day.

Van der Linden's English was pretty bad. To my ears, the Laar-van der Linden debate was quite painful.

Mait ütles ...

Just your everyday europidgin.

Giustino ütles ...

Well, Hammarberg was trashed by the usuals over at the Postimees commentary board.

It's pretty frustrating, because the guy says something that's true -- it's pretty hard for a 70-year-old in Kohlta-Järve to learn Estonian.

And yet there is no empathy from the rightwing boneheads. Not even empathy. You can disagree, but you can at least have empathy.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Like it was repeated over and over again in last Metsaülikool - you may read internet comments, but they are what they are - anonymous letters from very *special* individuals. They're NOT "esinduslikud arvamusuuringud" (representative opinion polls?). From what we know, there might be about 20 commentators for every 100 comments.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Why do you read Postimees, anyway? For not losing sight of Britney's and Paris' daily wanderings?

MikkS ütles ...

The comments in Postimees Online are disgusting. Every WWII thread has a majority of holocaust deniers in them for example. No use in arguing with them.

Giustino ütles ...

Why do you read Postimees, anyway? For not losing sight of Britney's and Paris' daily wanderings?

I read both. I think Postimees is a bit quicker with the news, but Päevaleht has more of the details.

space_maze ütles ...

Well, Hammarberg was trashed by the usuals over at the Postimees commentary board.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

Hammarberg said that the "age-out" option for citizenship acquisition should be lowered from its present level (all adults born before 1930) to a level younger (those aged 65 today, for example, were born in 1942). He also said that babies born to non-citizens that are eligible for citizenship should receive it automatically, rather than having to have their parents apply for it.

The first one I agree with - The age limit will HAVE to be changed at some point.

I mean, I kind of get the reasoning - people born in 1930 were young enough to learn some Estonian in 1990, still .. and if they don't speak any now, they haven't been doing their homework. And Estonia didn't want to leave itself open to people just waiting till they're old enough to get the citizenship.

But by now, it really doesn't make sense anymore. Especially as there are too few Russians over, say, 65 that are ( a ) alive ( b ) interested in Estonian citizenship to significantly alter the political landscape in Estonia. Especially with Savisaar now completely alienated from Estonians, I doubt a handful of non-integrated old farts would turn Estonia into Savisaarstan.

The second point though .. giving kids of non-citizens citizenship automatically, when all that has to be done today is fill out a form. .. Why, exactly?

What if the parents of the kid don't *want* the kid to get Estonian citizenship? Say, if you'd have a kid of political refugees that have no intention of staying, or anything of the sort.

When all you need to do for a newborn kid to get Estonian citizenship is to fill out one form - with absolutely zero requirements - I really don't get what the problem here is. All the state is doing here is asking people .. "you want your kid to have Estonian citizenship, yes? Just checking."

Giustino ütles ...

What if the parents of the kid don't *want* the kid to get Estonian citizenship? Say, if you'd have a kid of political refugees that have no intention of staying, or anything of the sort.

I guess the concern is that people will remain stateless due to the negligence of their parents. While Estonians view statelessness as normal, eurocrats view it as something that must be taken care of ASAP.

Restoring states doesn't happen everyday.

space_maze ütles ...

I guess they could "reverse" the process by making kids become Estonian citizens UNLESS they fill out a form. It still doesn't strike me as a particular necessary improvement...

Blogaddict ütles ...

How is it different in Estonia? We just had a baby here in US and I DO have to apply for: a) social security number b) birth certificate c) passport.

What is the Russians want? Somebody to simply drop all these documents into their mailbox?

I guess the difference is that here it does not matter what parental immigration status is while in Estonia it does.

But isn't this the case in virtually every other country in the world? I think US laws on this issue are the most lax. For example can illegal tadjik worker in Moscow obtain Russian citizenship for his newborn? Can an illegal turk in Germany obtain a german citizenship for his kid who was born in the country? How is Estonia more restrictive than anyone else? If it is not the why is everyone on Estonia's case? I wish I could read exhaustive research on this issue somewhere to be able to make more coherent arguments on the subject.

space_maze ütles ...

Yes, as far as I know, it is the way it happens in most of the world. It certainly is here in Austria.

I guess, for the sake of reducing the number of stateless people, Estonia IS supposed to simply drop all these documents into their mailbox.

Pierre ütles ...

Well, I'm no legal expert, but my understanding of US citizenship laws is that all births are automatically registered at city hall. This is done by hospitals submitting the appropriate documents. This in itself is enough to confer US citizenship to newborns. Perhaps Justin knows more about this. It's only when you need to show proof of citizenship that some action must be taken, such as a trip to city hall to get a birth certificate.

Estonia might want to consider such a mechanism applicable to children of parents with specific residency requirements. You know, some parents will do the stupedest things for the most ridiculous reasons, sometimes out of sheer ignorance, such as denying their children of what might be best for them, including citizenship in the country where they were born and are likely to live and work all their lives.

Granting citizenship to people beyond a certain age (65?) can only be good PR. All comments so far have pointed out to the limited effect they might have, so why not go for it?

Pierre

plasma-jack ütles ...

What is the Russians want?

Good point. We haven't heard much from Russians - I mean, Estonian Russians - lately.

Giustino ütles ...

Good point. We haven't heard much from Russians - I mean, Estonian Russians - lately.

I really have no idea. If you read the nutters on Lucas' blog, you'd think they are hatching an armed revolt.

If you watch the guests on Aunaste's show, they seem polite and normal, which is how they seem to me in public places here -- bars, stores, street corners et cetera.

When we went apartment hunting we had Russian-speaking real estate agents. They were totally normal and nice, like Estonian real estate agents.

I think they just want to be treated normally. There is some confusion between the state policies and the 'tibla valja' Estonian nationalists.

The Bronze Soldier controversy was case and point. There were lots of state arguments that supported removal of the monument (bad location, too controversial, cemetery under sidewalk against Geneva Conventions), and then there were the nationalist arguments (this soldier killed grandpa).

Ansip flip-flopped between both sides. And so some perhaps saw the action as one of a nationalist political force, rather than a state that represents everybody.

But if you go and read statements from the population affairs minister, the president .. in general the official policy, it is not the nationalist one, it is the integration one.

So I think maybe they'd prefer to hear less 'tibla valja' and more 'you are welcome here'. That means that Estonians have to step in and tell the 'tibla valja' crowd to shut up because they are detrimental to the integration process and the stability of society.