The Praxis Center for Policy Studies and the Institute of Baltic Studies are inviting permanent residents of Estonia to participate at the Open Forum, which will provide input for a new cohesion and integration strategy up to 2020.

Although integration of the country’s Soviet-era immigrants continues to be the first order of priority, the forum welcomes all permanent residents.

The forums will take place in Tallinn, Tartu, Narva and Kohtla-Järve and give people a chance to voice their opinions on the education policy and the labor market, examine access to language courses, social services and discuss matters related to citizenship.

All suggestions will be collected and submitted to the authors of the new integration policy being drafted at the Ministry of Culture, Praxis said in a release.

The thinktank says initial estimates are that 150 permanent residents of Estonia who are non-EU citizens or hold unspecified citizenship will participate.

“It is important that permanent residents of Estonia, for example citizens of the Russian Federation, but also newly arrived immigrants, have a say in matters that influence their daily lives and that their opinions reach the decision-makers,” said Kristina Kallas from the Institute of Baltic Studies. “We need to ask people directly what kind of problems they have encountered in integrating into Estonian society and this is the aim of these integration discussions,” Kallas adds.

Before the forum is held, the organizers will conduct a survey among all participants, which will identify the discussion topics for each forum.

“Our goal is to draft the new development plan in cooperation with all interested parties. We can definitely take good and important suggestions into consideration when developing the new strategy,” says Anne-Ly Reimaa, undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture.

All interested participants are asked to register for a forum by March 10 by filling in the application form here.

Source: Got Long-Term Residence Permit? Think Tank Looking for Forum Participants, ERR