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Vote on land ownership reform in November, says Defence Minister

The Defence Ministry says proposed changes to land ownership regulations are a matter of national security.

Jussi Niinistö
Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö of the Blue Reform Party Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Finland's Defence Ministry is preparing a law reform that it says would safeguard national security with increased regulation of real estate transactions.

The draft bill would grant the government the right to intervene in transactions that it thinks could jeopardise national security. Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö said in a statement on Monday that the plan is to create a variety of intervention methods to be used on a case-by-case basis.

According to Niinistö, basic civil rights and the smooth running of the real estate trade have been taken into consideration while drafting the proposal, which comes amid concern over foreign ownership of potentially strategic properties.

At the same time a second Ministry of Defence bill is also in the works that would allow only people with single Finnish citizenship to be appointed to official military posts in the Defence Forces, again based on security concerns.

The government says it hopes to present its real estate transaction plan in November in order for the incumbent parliament to consider the proposition before its legislative term ends next spring. The ministry says the changes could then take effect in early 2020.

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