MobileCIT Question 13

"Should the obligation of double military duty be removed for EU citizens who hold the citizenship of two EU Member States? Does this affect you? Would you be more comfortable if you only had an obligation to one country?"

Come and vote on this issue: (MobileCIT question Nr. 13)

An increasing number of European citizens hold dual citizenship in two EU Member States. Due to the growing geopolitical strain and Russia’s unjustified war in Ukraine, some European countries are reintroducing or activating military service for their citizens. The rules of military service vary from country to country. Holders of dual EU citizenship may be subject to military service in two different EU Member States.

This could allow European citizens holding dual citizenship to choose to fulfil the military service requirements in one EU Member State. By doing so, they can contribute to ensuring the Union’s defence capabilities while devoting the rest of their time and efforts to further studies or work, thus strengthening Europe’s economy, innovation capacities, and civic resilience, just like other EU citizens.

But it can also be argued that dual citizenship entails double privilege and hence warrants “double duty” as well, i.e., requiring a commensurate commitment to civic duties imposed by both countries.

This was a much-discussed issue at the first training session for Latvian expats living abroad. The workshop facilitator Elīna Pinto, the project’s partner from the ETTW side, says:

“This new geopolitical reality that Europe currently faces has put military duty in the spotlight again. Within NATO and also within the EU, European governments are strengthening defence capabilities, recruiting and training their citizens for readiness and deterrence. What does this mean if you live abroad and you hold two EU passports? For now, you can be called to train and serve in both countries if they have mandatory military service. For double European citizens, this can mean spending twice the number of years than others in military training, while – if allowed to choose one service only – they could meanwhile invest the time in further studies or work for the benefit of the EU economy. And what about a time of war if a mobilisation request comes? Military laws can still subject citizens who avoid conscription to severe penalties. These aspects were debated by the participants of the workshop, without coming to a shared view. It has never yet been tested what are the views of the broader community of mobile European citizens about double military duty – and I look forward to seeing them vote about this actively, as the MobileCIT team prepares policy proposals to the EU policymakers.”

The article is posted in collaboration with MobileCIT.