These expressions of goodwill facilitated Estonia's entry to the Council of Europe in May 1993, a full two years ahead of neighbouring Latvia. Yet the acceptance of external constraints over nationalities policy was fast becoming a major bone of contention within domestic politics. Addressing the nation on this historic occasion, President Meri felt obliged to reassure his countrymen that integrating into Europe was not the same as 'dissolving' into Europe. Estonia's return to Europe, he claimed, had aroused suspicion amongst Estonian intellectuals who claimed that the country would lose its distinct identity, culture and language.V Discontent over the citizenship law amendments extended to the ranks of the ruling coalition, where many ERSP and Isamaa deputies were deeply unhappy at measures which stood to increase the number of ethnic Russians with citizenship. Radicals were further piqued by President Meri's decision to veto a draft privatisation law which barred former Soviet functionaries from receiving privatisation vouchers.54