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There Can Be Only One: Finland to Ban Dual Nationals From Civil Careers

© Flickr / Bobo BoomOne million Finnish passports
One million Finnish passports - Sputnik International
Russia might politically activate its fellow Russians living abroad as a counter-measure, should Finland join NATO, a recent report published by the alliance indicates. Although Finland remains non-aligned so far, this sharp warning has prompted Russia's neighbor to tighten its legislation with regards to dual citizenship.

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Finland is currently pondering legislative restrictions in order to limit the dual-citizens' access to civil service careers. This measure is expected to hit Russians hardest, as there are about 60, 000 Russians living in Finland, and one third of them are dual nationals, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

The debate about the risks invoked by dual citizenship was initially sparked two years ago under the pretext of avoiding international disputes. At present, however, the tightening of the screws is largely blamed on Russia's reunification with Crimea, as Moscow had previously vowed to safeguard the interests of its citizens beyond the country's borders.

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For now, Finland accepts dual citizenship unreservedly, as foreign passport holders are not required to notify the authorities. However, a task group founded by President Sauli Niinistö last year concluded that there were a "substantial" and constantly growing number of people with dual citizenship.

At present, Finland has some 74,000 state officials, and nearly 30,000 of these jobs have a Finnish citizenship prerequisite. These posts include top jobs such as that of the Chancellor of Justice or Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Additionally, security-related posts in the country's police, army and border control have been reserved for citizens of Finland.

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The new law will spell out what positions require a thorough security check before a person with dual nationality may be accepted. Common approaches regarding when one's foreign background should disallow a career in public service due to a lack of confidence will also be devised.

Kirsi Äijälä of the Ministry of Finance expects it to be an arduous task, as several competent bodies are involved. Nevertheless, he anticipates a result to present to the parliament in autumn.

"The work is yet at an early stage, but the task is to be finished as quickly as possible," she told Yle.

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