Finland Can Block Entry of Asylum Seekers from Russia

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.15 - 2024 1:25 PM CET

Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock
Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock
Finland is moving forward with plans to introduce temporary legislation enabling border authorities to prevent asylum seekers arriving from Russia from entering the country.

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According to Yle, the Finnish government has submitted a draft law to Parliament that, if passed, would permit the return of asylum seekers to Russia under certain conditions along the eastern border.

The proposed legislation is designed to be temporary, with a one-year validity period from the date it becomes effective.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, alongside Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen, emphasized the need for Finland to brace itself for continued and potentially escalating pressure from Russia along the eastern frontier.

"We must be prepared for the fact that with the arrival of spring the situation will become more complicated," Orpo explained.

While international conventions guarantee the right to seek asylum at borders and mandate the review of such requests, Orpo noted a significant caveat. These agreements were established under different circumstances, not foreseeing a situation where one country might exploit this right to the detriment of another.

"As soon as the law enters into force, the acceptance of applications for the granting of international protection will be limited in time and in a certain territory," Rantanen stressed.

The call for legislative action follows concerns expressed by Finland's Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen, who urged the European Union to formulate a collective strategy in response to Russia's manipulation of migration flows as a geopolitical tool.

Finnish authorities have previously reported concerns over the potential security risks posed by some of the migrants who have crossed from Russia in recent months. Moreover, illegal migration networks have been promoting the Finnish border as an accessible route into Europe, complicating the situation further.

The Finnish Ministry of Internal Affairs has acknowledged the presence of thousands of migrants on the Russian side of the border, awaiting the opportunity to cross into Finland with the arrival of spring.