13 May, 16:41

Excessive language requirements may be lifted in Estonia to ease career opportunities for Russians

Excessive language requirements may be lifted in Estonia to ease career opportunities for Russians

Estonia's Education Ministry has referred a bill amending the Law on the Language and allowing Russian candidates to fill high posts in the public sector, to other ministries and agencies for approval procedures.

Such candidates would not be required to bring their command of the Estonian language to Level C2 which is the top level in spoken Estonian, the ministry's press service reported on Tuesday.

Since no exams are organized to check this particular level, people have no opportunity to demonstrate their skills, it said.

"This situation is unacceptable since candidates are required to do what they actually cannot do," Education and Science Minister Jevgeny Ossinovsky, the only Russian minister in the Estonian government, said, Interfax reports.

"The artificially rigorous requirements which cannot be fulfilled are in obvious contradiction with the principle of equal circulation of the languages," he said.

"They constitute one of the reasons why there are so few people in the public sector whose native language is Russian," the minister said.

He said the current situation does not allow people to climb to the top of the career ladder. If the bill is adopted the problem will be solved, he said.

However, the bill would give the employer the right to require a level of Estonian language speaking skills which he finds appropriate for the job, although they must not be higher than Level C1.

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