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Miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2008 - 17:48 GMT
Argentinos en camino a la Unión Europea
Funcionario de migraciones sellando un pasaporte
Muchos argentinos están descubriendo sus raíces estonias, lituanas, eslovacas y polacas.

Argentines head for EU

While most Argentines are of Spanish and Italian descent, embassies in Buenos Aires representing countries that recently joined the European Union - e.g. Estonia, Lithuania and Poland - are reporting a big increase in passport applications.

Daniel Schweimler reports:

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The truth is, said Sebastian, an Argentine, it does feel strange being Estonian. He doesn't speak the language, has never been to Tallinn and knows little about the Baltic state's history or customs. But thanks to an Estonian grandfather who emigrated to Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century, he now has an Estonian passport, which gives him access to the European Union.

Sebastian is one of a growing number of Argentines discovering their East European roots. The Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, Estonian and Lithuanian embassies in Buenos Aires all report a growing number of enquiries and applications for passports. The Romanians, who demand that applicants speak the language, say many ask where they can learn it.

Many Argentine youngsters are simply looking for a quick and easy entrance to the European Union - some to travel, others to work. But Argentina also suffers periodic economic and political crises, and many like to have a second passport in case the need to escape should arise.

During the economic collapse of 2001, the queues outside the Italian and Spanish consulates in Buenos Aires stretched for several blocks. But now the Lithuanian authorities say that surnames such as Rodriguez and Sanchez are becoming increasingly common on the streets of Vilnius.

Daniel Schweimler, BBC News, Buenos Aires

 Listen to the words

customs
costumbres o tradiciones

emigrated
que emigró (a Argentina)

gives him access to
que le da acceso a (la Unión Europea)

discovering
(que están) descubriendo

roots
sus raíces (de Europa del Este)

periodic
(sufre crisis económicas) periódicas

to escape
(llegue la necesidad de) escapar

economic collapse
el colapso económico

stretched for several blocks
se extendían varias cuadras

becoming increasingly common
se están volviendo cada vez más comunes (en las calles de Vilna)



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