Finnish politicians react to Die Welt report Belarus is channeling Middle Eastern migrants to Germany and Finland to protest sanctions against Minsk.
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green) said that about 30 immigrants had arrived in Finland via Belarus.
"Data from the Border Guard and my own officials suggest the arrival of these individuals through a hybrid operation. What Belarus is doing now is reprehensible," he said.
Ohisalo told Yle that Finnish emergency preparedness legislation needed urgent updating and stated that the current rules no longer correspond to the threats and risks that arise in Europe.
MPs from the Coalition Party and the Basic Finns have urgently called on the government to make changes to the legislation that will make it possible to suspend the receipt of asylum applications.
Director of the NCP Petteri Orpo said that Finland does not have a legal framework to deal with uncontrolled migration.
"We must send a message to the world that Finland cannot influence such actions. If necessary, we can close our borders by submitting asylum applications. It is a message to people that smugglers should not be trusted," he said.
The Polish border crisis is getting worse
Thousands of mostly Middle Eastern migrants are trying to cross the border from Belarus to Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told Yle that the situation at the Polish border was alarming.
"Looks bad. Especially when Belarus pushes people across the border [into Poland] at an increasing pace," he said.
The EU has said that Belarus will be president Alexander LukashenkoThe path of Middle Eastern migrants to Europe is a hybrid operation in Belarus to oppose sanctions against the country after the controversial 2020 presidential election.
Niinistö discussed the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border with the Polish president on Wednesday Andrzej Duda. Niinistö said he and Duda were speculating on why Belarus was putting pressure on Poland.
"The question arises as to whether the aim is to create a border conflict or to drive a wedge into the EU." Niinistö said and added "both scenarios suggest hybrid action."
Brussels and Warsaw have been at odds for years. Last month, the EU fined millions of euros in Poland in a rule of law dispute.
Niinistö: This is not 2015
Niinistö said that the current situation is different from the migration crisis of 2015, when 32,000 people applied for asylum in Finland. He pointed out that six years ago, people arrived on their own, while the situation was controlled by Belarus.
The German newspaper Die Welt claimed on Thursday that Germany and Finland are the main destinations for migrants entering the EU via the Belarusian-Polish border.
Die Welt said he had received an EU classified document stating that four to seven migrant planes arrived in Minsk every week.
"It is worrying that people can easily get to Finland via Poland and the Baltics," Niinistö said.
He said the current legislation needed to be revised to cover hybrid threats, which also hinted at a tightening of migration policy.
"In a few New Year’s speeches, I have said that in today’s world it is really not possible to act with loose legislation, especially compared to other Nordic countries." he said with reference to asylum policy.
This year, Denmark set a target of zero asylum applications.
Regarding migrants gathering at the Polish border, Niinistö said that dialogue between all parties, including Russia, is the only way forward.
Commented on Die Welt’s story, MEPs Heidi Hautala (green) and Nils Torvalds (SPP) said it doubted the German newspaper ‘s news about immigrants going to Finland.
"Die Welt is not a beacon of truth," Torvalds told Yle on Friday.
Meanwhile, Hautala called the story "pure speculation."
"Rumor has it [classified EU] document. We haven’t seen it, and Die Welt hasn’t made it public." Hautala said.
Both Torvalds and Hautala also said it was unlikely that Lukashenko would make threats to cut off gas supplies to the EU.
"If he cut off gas supplies, he would, in fact, damage Russia’s interests and Belarus’s reputation as a safe producer of natural gas." Torvalds said.
At the same time, Hautala added that Lukashenko needs Vladimir Putina blessing before the gas supply is cut off.
Source: The Nordic Page