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Politica e lingue

LATVIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL JOB LAW

LATVIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS CONTROVERSIAL JOB LAW

LATVIAN PRESIDENT GUNTIS ULMANIS ON WEDNESDAY RETED CONTROVERSIAL NEW EMPLOYMENT LAWS WITH CLAUSES ON THE USE OF THE LATVIAN GUAGE THAT DREW PROTESTS FROM LOCAL RUSSIANS.
LATVIA, WHICH QUIT THERMER SOVIET UNION IN 1991, IS TRYING TO REASSERT ITS LANGUAGE AS THE DNANT TONGUE, A MOVE WHICH HAS CAUSED UNEASE AMONG THE LARGE RUSSIAN MINORITY.
THE NEW EMPLOYMENT LAW HAD AMENDMENTS WHICH ALLOWED FOR OFFICIAL LANGUAGE INSPECTORS TO ASK EMPLOYERS TO DISMISS STAFF WHO COULD NOT SPEAK LATVIAN WELL ENOUGH.
ULMANIS ASKED PARLIAMENT TO RECONSIDER THE LEGISLATION, SAYING IT WAS UNCLEAR WHICH JOBS NEEDED CERTAIN LEVELS OF LANGUAGE KNOWLEDGE, THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE SAID IN A STATEMENT.
HE ALSO CALLED ON PARLIAMENT TO DRAW UP A LANGUAGE LAW THAT WOULD PROTECT THE LATVIAN LANGUAGE AND HELP "FORM A HARMONIOUS CIVIC SOCIETY".
DURING THE SOVIET ERA, MANY LATVIANS THOUGHT THEIR LANGUAGE WAS UNDER THREAT AS MAINLY RUSSIAN-SPEAKING IMMIGRANTS ARRIVED.
THE ISSUE IS STILL A SOURCE OF TENSION AS MANY RUSSIANS, WHO SAW NO NEED TO LEARN LATVIAN WHEN THE BALTIC STATE WAS PART OF THE SOVIET UNION, STILL CANNOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE.
SEVERAL RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE DAILIES PRINTED A LETTER TO ULMANIS EARLIER THIS WEEK, ASKING HIM TO REJECT THE LEGISLATION BECAUSE IT WOULD HURT LATVIA’S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE.
"HAS ANYONE THOUGHT HOW EUROPE…WILL REACT TO OUR INNOVATION, WHERE THERE IS A FREE LABOUR MARKET AND THE RIGHT OF AN EMPLOYER TO EMPLOY ANY SPECIALIST, BE HE DEAF AND BLIND," RUSSIAN NEWSPAPER BIZNESS I BALTIYA SAID.
MOST OF LATVIA’S 700,000 RUSSIAN-SPEAKERS, MAINLY ETHNIC RUSSIANS, STILL DO NOT HAVE LATVIAN CITIZENSHIP, WHICH HAS BROUGHT CHARGES OF DISCRIMINATION FROM MOSCOW.
LATVIA REJECTS THE CHARGES AND SAYS SOVIET-ERA IMMIGRANTS SHOULD NATURALISE AS CITIZENS.
11 02 98

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