Latvians declared abroad will not be recruited into defense service

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Young people with a declared residence outside Latvia will not be recruited into the planned mandatory National Defense Service (VAD), said the parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Defense Jānis Eglīts (National Alliance) told LETA February 8.

Last summer, the Defense Ministry said that Latvians living abroad will also be recruited to the service. On Tuesday, Saeima Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee, its Members and other stakeholders, including representatives of the Ombudsman's Office, raised a number of questions for Eglīts on how young people living abroad would then be covered by the VAD.

At the meetings of the Commission, Eglīts said that recruitment would only apply to young people who have declared their place of residence in Latvia. “If a citizen has not arranged his obligations to the State and has not declared his or her place of residence abroad, he shall be subjected to the draft. If he has fulfilled his obligations and correctly stated his place of residence in a foreign country, the draft shall not be directed against him in any way,” Eglīts said.

Eglīts said that it was difficult to find a mechanism to bring people back to Latvia or to “chase them around the world and search”, analyzing the experience of Finland and Estonia.

Asked what would happen if a person declared in Latvia still lives and works abroad, Eglīts replied that the law already provides that a person should register his or her place of residence abroad. If they haven't arranged relationships with the country, all sanctions for avoiding service will be directed against them. He also said that students abroad and young people declared in Latvia will have the opportunity to postpone their service.

Eglīts also confirmed that the VAD would not recruit people who, while being 18-19 years old, would have declared abroad, but had chosen to return to Latvia later.

The Saeima committee will continue its work on the VAD draft and the accompanying draft laws on Wednesday, February 8.


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