Ministers Niinistö, Mykkänen and Häkkänen: Real estate ownership is part of comprehensive security - monitoring must be improved
The Government has today submitted a proposal to Parliament on taking national security into consideration when drafting legislation on land use and real estate ownership. The Government’s proposal contains a total of eight bills.
First, the proposal calls for an act on license requirement in real estate acquisitions. According to the bill, nationals or corporations of non-EEA States would need a licence to buy real estate in Finland. Second, it is proposed that the State has a pre-emptive right to buy real estates when they are located close to strategic assets. The existing Redemption Act for Defence Purposes would be replaced by the so called Redemption Act for Comprehensive Security Purposes; the new Act would complement the licensing practice and pre-emption, thus serving the needs of comprehensive security.
The said Acts would be mutually complementary and they would ensure that the State could intervene, if necessary, in the ownership and use of real estates without risking national security.
The bills were drafted so that the resulting administrative burden and impact on regular real estate trading would remain as small as possible. The proposal does not aim at intervening in real estate ownership in Finland on a larger scale or make international investments in Finland more difficult.
The other bills are about taking into account the needs of national security in land use planning and improving the exchange of information among authorities. The primary purpose of the proposals is to ensure that security authorities have sufficient situational awareness on the use and ownership of real estates.
According to Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö, it is important that authorities get an up to date and sufficiently reliable and comprehensive situation picture on ownership when the real estate is located close to nationally and strategically important assets. This will ensure that authorities will have significantly better tools for intervening if national security so requires.
- The security environment has changed. Security authorities must have necessary tools to prepare for new kind of threats. The proposed legislation would give authorities better opportunity to monitor real estate transactions and intervene proactively in case land transactions critical for security are noticed. According to Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen, the proposed amendments would enable us to consider the perspectives of the real estate business and the State’s security at the same time.
Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen says that Finland welcomes foreign ownership as an enlivening element. - In the future we will be better equipped to monitor and prevent transactions where this right could be misused in a manner that would cause serious damage to Finland.
The Government’s proposal is based on the report by a broad-based working group, led by the Prime Minister’s Office, which was submitted to the Prime Minister on 28 June 2018. The draft bills will enter into force on 1 January 2020.
Inquiries: Perttu Wasenius, Senior Officer, Legal Affairs, Ministry of Defence, tel. +358 295 140 603; and Pekka Pulkkinen, Legal Director, Ministry of Justice, tel. +358 295 150 224.