Saturday. 20.07.2019
El tiempo

Finland distrusts citizens with dual nationality

The acts governing the Finnish Defence Forces have been revised to allow only people with solely Finnish citizenship to be appointed to military positions or officer posts.

Civilians enjoy an exhibition of military equipment. Photo: Finnish Armed Forces/@Puolustusvoimat
Civilians enjoy an exhibition of military equipment. Photo: Finnish Armed Forces/@Puolustusvoimat
Finland distrusts citizens with dual nationality

Persons living in Finland and holding dual or multiple citizenship are now banned by law from working at military posts in the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF), unless they get a special permission.

The Finnish broadcasting company (Yle) informed that "the acts governing the FDF and the National Defence University have been revised to allow only people with solely Finnish citizenship to be appointed to military positions or officer posts".

According to the new legislation, no-one named to such posts may hold a foreign citizenship. The reason is that they might pose a security risk for the country.

No foreign ties

The new law specifies that candidates to those positions must be screened to make sure they don't have "foreign nationality or other foreign ties that might endanger security, the national defence or Finland's international relationships".

The new law allows exemptions from this citizenship requirement "if necessary". And it also includes some transitional provisions for anyone holding dual citizenship who has already been appointed to a military post or admitted to officer training. Persons with dual or multiple citizens may also serve as conscripts when needed.

Reforms started in 2017

The efforts to revise the law started in early 2017, when then-defence minister Jussi Niinistö said it was "needed to improve Finland’s national security when appointing someone to a military post in the Defence Forces and selecting students for studies that lead to officer posts".

According to Yle, the original aim was for the new legislation to enter into force in early 2018. However it was not approved by the Finnish Parliament until last March, just before the end of the legislative term and before Niinistö left office.

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