Estonian Citizenship Policy and a Citizens’ Europe
The answer to the question whether in the future, European citizenship will serve only to supplement the set of civic rights in each member states, or be a first step in establishing world citizenship, will be provided by a Europe-wide debate in which Estonia is also a participant.
At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the Estonia’s postcolonial process of integration into a Citizens’ Europe is in many ways more complicated than it is for many other new European Union member states. The central role that Estonian citizenship played in restoring national sovereignty has taken on special meaning in how citizens and citizenship are perceived, especially in the eyes of the older generation. This experience has shaped the world view and attitudes of today’s legislators. The problems of expanding citizenship, including the problems of multiple citizenship, are to a notable extent still perceived not in a European Union context, but rather defined in large part as a response to a significant other, as it were, a neoimperialist-revanchist Russian policy. An important factor in strengthening the Citizens’ Europe mentality will likely be time. Nationalist estatism, which is an important factor in the eyes of the older generation in giving nationality content, will in the future continue inevitably to be less and less of a yardstick.