{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Ozolins - ULDIS OZOLIN S THE IIVIPACT OF EUROPEAN ACCESSION...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–22. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 6
Image of page 7

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 8
Image of page 9

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 10
Image of page 11

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 12
Image of page 13

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 14
Image of page 15

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 16
Image of page 17

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 18
Image of page 19

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 20
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: ULDIS OZOLIN S THE IIVIPACT OF EUROPEAN ACCESSION UPON LANGUAGE POLICY IN THE BALTIC STATES (Received 31 January 2003; accepted in revised form 11 July 2003) ABSTRACT. The deliberate changes to language regime undertaken in post-Soviet Estonia and Latvia have had significant repercussions for their accession to the EU and NATO Charges of discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities have led countless European delegations to survey the Baltic States, resulting in a mixture of approval, advice and warnings on language, citizenship and integration issues. While these interventions have been justified by assertions of international human rights standards, such standards as exist have been devised for very different minority situations, and their relevance to the Baltic States is often contested. The article points to an evolving critique of the minority- rights based approach of European institutions, and examines the specific sociolinguistic situation in the Baltic including the often unrecognised attitudes of the Russianvspeaking minorities. The Baltic case has wider resonance for other small national languages seeking to reassen their status against former imperialistic language regimes. KEY WORDS: Baltic States, changes to language regimes, citizenship, European organ- isations, human rights standards, language laws, language minorities, minority rights, post-colonialism INTRODUCTION In November and December 2002, at formal meetings in Prague and Copenhagen respectively, invitations to join NATO and the EU were extended inter alia to the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Besides the expected issues of defence budgets and fish quotas, issues of language policy have featured more prominently in these organ— isations’ vetting of candidate countries than may have been expected, extending to threats of non-acceptance if European or NATO demands are not met. Recent Baltic language policy developments may also have wider implications, particularly for those seeking to maintain and defend the use of smaller national languages as they emerge from imperialistic language situations. Language Policy 2: 217—238, 2003. © 2003 KluwerAcademic Publishers. Printed in the Netherinnds. 218 ULDIS OZOLINS BACKGROUND T0 BALTIC LANGUAGE AND CITIZENSHIP ISSUES The interest of international organisations in Baltic language policy arose in the dramatic circumstances of the break-up of the Soviet Union. In the late 19808, all the non-Russian republics reasserted the status of their national languages, counteracting the previous dominance of Russian, and bringing significant criticism from Moscow. Conflict with Moscow became even more intense for the Baltic states after their renewed inde- pendence in 1991, when Moscow charged these states with discrimination against their large Russian-speaking minorities, an attack that has lasted in the case of Estonia and Latvia to the present day (Alksnis, 1991; Ramishvili, 1998; Pn'ma News Agency, 2002). There is a substantial literature on the former Soviet and present Baltic linguistic situations. Soviet language policy, including the marked features of asymmetrical bilingualism (Russians remaining largely monolingual, while non—Russians needed to become bilingual to function at any level in the Soviet system) has been well researched (Lewis, 1972; Kreindler, 1985; Knowles, 1989; Smith, 1998). Norgaard (1996) and Smith (1996) have covered the significant demographic changes that affected the Baltic states through migration from the other Soviet republics, reducing the titular nationals to 61.3% of the population in Estonia by 1989 (down from a pre—war 88%) and to 52% in Latvia (down from 77%). Lithuanians’ proportion remained largely unchanged, at 79.6% (down from 80.6%). Few settlers also learnt the local languages (Kolstoe, 1995: 89). Baltic language laws, strengthened after independence, required that all those working in situations of public contact must be able to demonstrate their competence in the national language; other requirements covered the increase of teaching of the national language in all school systems, signage, and measures promoting the national languages in broadcasting, publication and public life (Maurais, 1991; Rannut, 1994). Lieven (1993), Misiunas and Taagepera (1993), Aarebrot and Knutsen (2000) and Jubulis (2001) have also detailed the restrictive citizenship laws in Estonia and Latvia, who considered their settler populations too large to grant automatic citizenship; while many settlers supported Baltic independence, parts of this population also had exhibited hostility to renewed independence and hoped for Moscow support. As Hogan—an and Ramoniene’s (2003) recent article in this journal demonstrated, the different demographic simation in Lithuania led to that country granting automatic citizenship to all legitimate permanent residents, and subsequent language and integration policies have taken a different path. In Estonia and Latvia, citizenship was granted to those (of whatever nationality) who were citizens in 1940 at the time of Soviet occupation and LANGUAGE POHCYINTHEBALTIC STATES 219 their descendants, leaving over 30% of the population in Latvia and 25% in Estonia without citizenship. Systems of naturalisation were introduced, including a test of conversational and basic reading/writing skills in the national language, as well as some knowledge of the country’s history and constitution. While Moscow continued to attack these Baltic initiatives and delayed withdrawing its army (Rannut, 1994: 200—203; Simonsen, 2001), it also hoped that at least two of its demands —- automatic citizenship for all resi- dents, and the declaration of Russian as a second official state language — would be supported from the west by governments keen to avoid human rights abuses. Karklins cites a 1992 Russian foreign ministry spokesman: The question of human rights is a very strong weapon. The West is highly sensitive to this issue, in contrast to us. As a result of our diplomatic activities the reputation of the three Baltic countries can be undermined more and more I. . .] (Karklins, 1994: 122). These factors have defined how disputes over language and citizen- ship are understood by the different parties. While Moscow argues these are human rights issues for a stranded diaspora, for the Baltic states these disputes are largely defined as foreign relations disputes and not primarily a case of unsatisfactory local relations with minorities, whose own attitudes are examined below. Moscow’s criticisms found resonance with some western comment- ators (Fukuyama, 1992; Tayler, 2002), but not with official western bodies. Writing in 1994, Estonian author Mart Rannut recounted how since 1991 there had been some 15 human rights missions to Estonia from the UN and various Western European bodies, “none of which has found any gross or systematic violations of human rights” (Rannut, 1994: 208). To the chagrin of Russia, the Vienna-based CSCE’s [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, later OSCE — ‘Organisation ...’] newly appointed High Commissioner for National Minorities [HCNM] Max van der Steel in 1993 backed the observations of previous delegations in finding “no evidence of persecution of the Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltic States” (CSCE, 1993: 109). The CSCE identified the need to integrate these large minorities into the new states and offered suggestions to the respective governments to this end. This 1993 CSCE report sets a curious benchmark: there is no doubt this report was a shock for Moscow, and some Russian authors argued that “this should be remembered as an example of the kind of approach that produced internal turmoil in the Russian political establishment” (Konovalov & Evstaviev, 1995: 178). But in some ways it must have been a shock for Europe as well, as subsequent policy involvement from the OSCE, as we shall see, can be seen in part as a retreat from this 1993 position. 220 ULDIS OZOLINS THE LANGUAGE POLICY LOGIC OF EUROPEAN ORGANISATIONS Several interlocking logics have characterised European organisations’ response to Baltic language policy. The first arises from a human rights perspective, in trying to find a basis in human rights law to monitor language policy. However, a feature of the literature in this field is that it almost univer- sally bemoans the lack of clear international law in relation to language issues (see Dunbar, 2001, for a concise overview). One example here is de Varenncs (1995/6, 1996), whose works have been used widely by European institutions. He argues that regimes need to show a tolerance for minority languages, and indeed that a positive appreciation of minority language rights can be a useful tool in diminishing eflmic conflict. He goes on to argue, however, that relevant international instruments have often been interpreted in disappointingly narrow ways. He argues for more liberal interpretations, e.g., on what aspects of citizenship requirements are discriminatory, or how a sliding scale should be used to look at where minority languages are used by official bodies, or ways of limiting state legislation on language. He uses a series of hypo— thetical examples of what courts might hold to be discriminatory in various cases, including some Baltic examples where he favours a two-official languages policy. While the conclusions he draws from his specific- ally Baltic examples can be questioned (Druviete, 1997), de Varennes has usefully demonstrated the often limited nature of language-related legislation and international norms. Yet, a time line from the end of the 1980s - when these issues gained significance in Eastern Europe — to the end of the 1990s shows an increasing chorus of views from European institutions proclaiming univer- sality in language rights and declaring a whole host of issues settled in law. We examine examples of this below. Human rights concerns however are not the only European point of View. Another approach relating to language, central to the post-Soviet case, was that of the OSCE and its attitudes to conflict prevention, developed in response to diverse conflicts including armed conflicts in many Eastern European countries (Zaagman, 1999). These two positions present instructive contrasts. From a conflict- prevention perspective, the objective is to recognise specificity, since quite different solutions may be appropriate for diverging cases or even superficially similar cases. But from a language rights viewpoint, conflict prevention is incidental to the securing of language rights which are seen to be universal and which rely upon the enforcement of a human rights legal culture that may not hitherto exist; significantly, this approach itself could produce conflict, even while speaking in the name of peace. LANGUAGE POLICY m THE BALTIC STATES 221 Exactly this possibility has been canvassed in Deets’ (2002) critique of minority rights perspectives, in an article likely to have a great impact on future language policy discussion. Like de Varennes and Dunbar, Deets stresses the hitherto limited interpretations of minority education and language rights in international law and notes that attempts to write more explicit minority rights into international instruments have often failed. But unlike de Varennes, Deets argues that such unwillingness to coun— tenance minority rights has often been highly perceptive and beneficial, precisely because it limits rights~based conflicts which often become so intractable. Referring to the long-standing debate in liberal political theory over whether group rights exist (as against individual rights) and how they should be treated in social policy, Deets argues that a group rights perspective is flawed: This is not to argue that policies promoting minority identity and culture should be aban- doned, but perhaps much of the discourse on minority rights should be. The language of rights has a seductive power. Its logic often cascades in unexpected directions, and the unavoidably increasing gap between perceived rights and actual policy is potentially explosive (Deets, 2002: 52). Examining educational and representational rights in Central Eastern Europe, Deets details the success of some minority policies which did not espouse a rights rhetoric in Hungary and Romania, and argues a point of great relevance to the Baltic situation, that the basis for Hungary’s own very liberal policies for its very small minorities is precisely to be able to pressure surrounding countries in their treatment of Hungarian minor- ities there; that is, as an instrument of international relations. We return to Deets’ arguments on Macedonia below. The different perspectives of de Varennes and Beers point to a central issue at stake for language policy: whether rights-centred approaches to minority conflict have the potential to diminish such conflict (de Varennes) or increase it (Deets). Moreover, these would seem to be empirical claims, and attention to the actual mechanisms employed —- legal or otherwise — in different contexts may yield useful (and usefully limited) results. The Baltic States present one such case. However, making the situation even more complex, the mechanisms for European accession have also another logic not quite coincidental with the universal human rights approach — the stress by European organisations on what constitutes conformity to European norms of behaviour. The OSCE and other bodies have found it difficult to simply apply western European norms to often novel minority situations in the successor states of the Soviet Union. Equally, the demands now imposed on Eastern Europe argu- ably have not always reflected the actual language and citizenship practices in Westem Europe. Not for the first time, the Eastern European countries 222 ULDIS ozourvs have felt that significant additional standards were being expected of them (Burgess, 1999; Chandler, 1999). EUROPEAN INTERVENTIONS Three examples of European intervention in Baltic language policy can be briefly discussed. Citizenship and Language Citizenship presented a particular problem for European intervention. Basically, there are no international conventions on citizenship and natur— alisation - of all areas, this is one most left up to sovereign states, and regimes range from those with the most inclusive, to those with the most highly restricted citizenship. As this entire spectrum exists in Western Europe, the Baltic stipulations had no clear proscription in easily cited international law (Chinn & Truex, 1996; Skolnick, 1996). However, the lack of international nouns on citizenship has not deterred European institutions from making repeated interventions, such as the full—blown confrontations over Estonia’s proposed Aliens Law of 1995 (OSCE Annual Reports 1994—1996), or the highly publicised pressure on Latvia to change its citizenship law in 1998, after the law had been earlier explicitly approved by European bodies; both interventions not to do with inter- national legal norms at all, but with European political determination to speed up naturalisation processes (OSCE Annual Report, 1998; Ozolins, 1999: 37ff.; Jubulis, 2001: ll9ff.). In both countries, a language requirement of a basic conversational and written level has continued to be part of the naturalisation process — a not unusual even if highly variable requirement for naturalisation in many countries (Piller, 2001). The OSCE has hovered around the edges of the language and citizenship link, accepting it as legitimate, but also wanting a rapid increase in naturalisation yet realising the impossibility of instantly improving language proficiency. As well as criticising some aspects of the language tests, European bodies have provided substantial funds for language teaching. Yet naturalisation rates have remained low — after an initial surge in both countries, citizenship rate hover around 1-2% of non-citizens each year (European Commission, 2002a: 30, 2002b: 30), with little apparent urgency to naturalise as there are few disadvantages of non-citizenship (Aasland & Tyldum, 2000; Aasland, 2002). LANGUAGE POLICY IN THE BALTIC STATES 223 Use of language in the Private Sphere Considerable international pressure in the late 19903 was directed at con- vincing the Baltic States to drop requirements in their language laws relating to the private economic sphere. These requirements covered indi- viduals in any enterprise who had direct contact with the public and who had not attended Estonian- or Latvian-language schooling, with a graded scale of tested language proficiency in the national language required for different occupations (Toomsalu & Simm, 1998). However, these require— ments in the private sphere did not prescribe what language must be used between individuals, for example what language a doctor should use to a patient or shopkeeper use to a customer. The concern was not to monitor individual use in interactions, but to ensure capacity for communication in the national language at an appropriate level, so that the doctor or shopkeeper could in fact speak the national language if required. OSCE objected to such requirements in Latvia’s new Language Law in 1997, arguing that language use should not be regulated in the private economic sphere except in a highly restricted number of situ- ations of public interest, and criticised similar Estonian requirements, with numerous delegations again urging this point and warning against non-compliance (Ozolins, 1999: 34ff.). Despite this continual pressure, the Latvian parliament passed a new Language Law in 1999 still containing provisions for regulating languages in private enterprises; after a veto from the President (Fennell & Lambert, 2000: 26), the requirement was reformulated to read: the use of language in private institutions, organisations and enterprises (or companies) and the use of language with regard to self-employed persons shall be regulated in cases when their activities concern legitimate public interests (public safety, health, morals, health care, protection of consumer rights and labour rights, workplace safety and public administrative supervision) and shall be regulated to the extent that the restriction applied to ensure legitimate public interests is balanced with the rights and interests of private insti- tutions, organisations, companies (enterprises) (Section 2, Article 2, quoted in Poleshchuk, 2002: 4). There were similar moves in Estonia in 2000 to amend their Language Law, using almost the same formulations as in Latvia, but annoying the European Commission by still producing lists of occupations and required level of language proficiency in areas of “justified public interest” (Poleshchuk, 2002: 3). While outwardly satisfying European bodies, such formulations have, as Poleshchuk argues, only shifted ground to the murkier interpretation of what such justified public interests are. It can be asked whether the tortuous formulations as in the Latvian law above — essentially a repetition of European mantras about what might count 224 ULDIS ozouns as a legitimate public interest — are any clearer, or easier to follow, than Latvia’s much more general 1992 law demanding the capacity to service the public in the official state language of those persons in any enterprise who had public contact positions. A more detailed critique of the European approach, including the problematic nature of the public/private sphere distinctions and doubt on the interpretation of international conventions often cited, is given elsewhere (Ozolins, 1999). Language Requirements in Candidature for Public Ofiice An equally protracted campaign criticised requirements to have knowl- edge of the official state language mandatory for all holders of publicly elected office, among other occupations and professions. This resulted in a court case at the European Court of Human Rights in 2002, though the greatest pressure f...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern