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Tomorrow, on the second day of the 2016 European Championships, the Xhaka brothers will walk out to face each other. Granit, the younger, is perhaps the more famous and has just sealed a big money transfer to Arsenal. He represents Switzerland, while his brother Taulant will be wearing the colours of Albania.

This situation is illustrative of the way in which migration, which continues to be one of the hot-button issues across the continent, has penetrated sport, too. Mr. and Mrs. Xhaka were Kosovan Albanians who emigrated to Switzerland shortly before their sons were born. Football's occasionally arcane nationality rules meant that the brothers could, in essence, choose who to represent from several options. The Swiss team is a particularly strong example, with stars such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami sharing a similar background too, but sides such as France, Belgium and Germany also present stories on the same inclusive theme. They are European in every sense, sides which have taken in the best and most talented regardless of circumstance.

Published in Sixth Sense

“Latvian culture and language are in the happy position of having a state which protects 'Latvianness' and helps it to survive” - said Ints Dālderis, Latvia’s former Minister of Culture in an interview with E&M. On 18th of February, 2012, 74.8% of Latvian voters rejected Russian as a second official language. Christian brought together four young Latvians to discuss the result.

Kristina, Beāte and Laura agree that there should only be one official language in a country. Kristina says to her personally speaking Russian or Latvian does not mean a difference, Beāte deems it important to preserve the independence Latvia has finally achieved, and Laura, who has lived in Germany for almost nine years, states that she is proud of the majority in the referendum.

Marija, Russian by nationality and a Latvian citizen, also says "no": she appreciates Russian language and culture as well as Latvian, but she thinks that the lack of integration of the Russian population cannot be simply reversed by making Russian the second official language. Instead, she proposes establishing Russian as an administrative language on the municipal level, and to embark on a long-overdue integration policy.

Published in Culturopolia
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