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HomeEstoniaEstonia eyeing amendment to allow foreign citizens to participate in national defense

Estonia eyeing amendment to allow foreign citizens to participate in national defense

The Defense Ministry has drafted a document of legislative intent to amend the Military Service Act in order to enable foreign citizens to participate in the national defense of Estonia and in military training, as well as in the activities of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps.

The document proposes that foreign citizens would be able to enter into a contract with the Estonian defense forces or another institution for the performance of the duties of a peacetime position or a wartime post. They will also have the opportunity to undergo relevant training. If it is established that the person is trustworthy and there are no circumstances precluding the conclusion of a contract, they can enter into a contract and start performing their obligations in accordance with the contract. The planned provisions concerning supporting members of the Kaitseliit would allow foreign citizens to participate in the activities of the Kaitseliit, except for the election of governing bodies and candidacy.

Pursuant to current law, foreign nationals may not, prior to the declaration of martial law or mobilization, express a wish or legally bind themselves to  service in the defense forces or participate in the military defense of Estonia, including reservist training, additional reservist training and other military training.

While a foreign national can become a supporting member of the Kaitseliit and be involved in fulfilling the tasks of the Kaitseliit, there are limitations due to their not having a wartime position. As at March 31, there were 230 supporting members in the Kaitseliit who were not citizens of Estonia. As things stand, they cannot participate in national defense or receive related training. They also cannot voluntarily undertake an obligation in the defense forces in peacetime and cannot be appointed to wartime positions or receive corresponding training.

For example, a foreign citizen living in Estonia, who has established a family here, must renounce his or her citizenship and apply for Estonian citizenship in order to become an active member of the Kaitseliit and be appointed to a wartime position. A foreign citizen born and raised in Estonia, whose country of citizenship does not release him or her from citizenship, cannot enter conscript service in Estonia.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)


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