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17 Jul, 2020 12:01

Swedish applications for Finnish citizenship almost double, officials blame coronavirus pandemic

Swedish applications for Finnish citizenship almost double, officials blame coronavirus pandemic

Twice as many Swedes have applied for Finnish citizenship so far this year than applied throughout all of 2019, with embassy workers speculating that the countries’ divergent coronavirus responses might be the cause.

So far in 2020, over 300 Swedish citizens have applied for Finnish citizenship, while just 152 applied in the entirety of 2019. 

“We have received a lot of applications and it is only summer,” said Jouni Laaksonen, deputy head of mission at the Finnish Embassy in Stockholm.

“But we do not know for sure, because you do not have to give a basis for why you apply for Finnish citizenship. But it's probably because of the coronavirus. People want to ensure that they can come to Finland,” Laaksonen added.

The official says the majority of the applicants are former Finnish citizens who became Swedish citizens before 2003, after which dual citizenship was permitted in Sweden's neighbor to the east.  

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic Finland's border with Sweden remains closed to those without a valid reason for entering the country. Finnish authorities have listed repatriation among the reasons that are considered valid.

Also on rt.com ‘Swedish model’ of no-lockdown response to Covid-19 ‘WORKED REGARDLESS OF EXCESSIVE DEATHS,’ its architect says

In June, the Finnish government relaxed restrictions on visitors from countries where a maximum of eight cases per 100,000 have been recorded in the previous fortnight; Sweden has yet to meet these criteria. 

The two countries adopted wildly different responses to the coronavirus pandemic, with Finland opting to close its border and enter a weeks-long lockdown, while Sweden adopted a more hands-off, business-as-usual approach. 

Sweden’s number of Covid-19 cases has doubled since the beginning of June, giving it one of the highest rates of the virus in the European Union. The Scandanavian country boasts a population of over 10.23 million people and has recorded over 76,000 cases of coronavirus infection, with over 5,500 fatalities. 

Meanwhile, Finland has a population of just over 5.5 million people, with roughly 7,200 confirmed coronavirus cases resulting in some 328 deaths.

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