Rising Demand for Romanian Citizenship May Irritate Ukraine

Requests for Romanian citizenship in Ukraine's Odessa region have doubled since the start of 2017, which analysts say might cause further tension with Bucharest - already angered by the adoption of language laws promoting Ukrainian in 2017.

Bucharest scrapped its consular fees for passports in 2017, which had amounted to around 300 US dollars.

"This amount mattered to them [passport solicitants]. Any consular service they seek has now become more attractive, because everything is free now," Romania's consul in Odessa, Emil Rapcea, said, quoted by Romanian public TV, TVR.

However, experts say the rise in people seeking Romanian citizenship could create tensions, as Ukraine does not recognize double citizenship.

"Double citizenship has no certain legal framework in Ukraine, as the law there fails to recognize such a legal relationship, despite recommendations from Western partners to take the experience of EU countries into account," Romanian political analyst Mihai Isac told BIRN.

He said getting EU rights via citizenship of EU member Romania has a practical purpose for many citizens in Ukraine, as it means they can travel, work or study in European states.

Anatol Popescu, president of the Bessarabia Association of Romanians from the Odessa region, told BIRN that most of those seeking Romanian passports were non-Romanian speakers who wanted to profit from claiming Romanian inheritance.

Those seeking Romanian citizenship must prove that their ancestors were Romanians who lost their citizenship against their will after the Soviet Union annexed Bessarabia [now Moldova] and northern Bukovina from Romania in June 1940.

Ukrainian statistics show that today only two schools use a Romanian language curriculum in the Odessa...

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