The control of the border between Finland and Russia has broken into the political debate for several reasons: the possibility of a hybrid operation to bring refugees to the border, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s and Sweden’s aspirations to join NATO.
Earlier this spring, the Border Guard began investigating and planning the possible strengthening of the border fence. However, no political decisions have yet been made on the project.
According to a survey by YLE, support for the construction of a new border fence is high, especially within the Perussuomalainen and the Coalition Party. The idea was also supported by a clear majority of legislators representing the center and the Social Democrats. Despite the support of the majority, there was great uncertainty among the Greens.
The Left Alliance was the only party whose majority opposed the idea of strengthening the fence.
MPs who supported the idea most often based their support on the threat of hybrid campaigns, says YLE. However, hardly anyone considered that fences should be built along the entire 1,300-kilometer border, given the expensive and impossible nature of such a project. Fences should instead be built in “critical areas” to guide people entering the country to official border crossings.
Representatives of the Basic Finns and the Coalition Party also took the opportunity to criticize the government for not enacting laws that would allow the border to be closed completely in an emergency.
Ben Zyskowicz (NCP) said it was in favor of “placing appropriate barriers in certain places.”
“This is all the more necessary because the government has apparently interpreted that under no circumstances could Finland refuse to accept asylum applications, even if we were talking about an operation organized by Russia against Finland,” he told the broadcaster.
Basic Finns are ready to “do anything” to ensure border security, he said Ville Tavio (PS).
“Fences alone will not help if the gates can be opened with the magic word‘ asylum ’. The Emergency Authorization Act should be reformed so that asylum applications can be suspended, ”he wrote in his reply.
Proponents of the idea also widely emphasized that fencing alone is not enough to improve border control, and argued that patrols and technical controls should also be increased.
Opposition to the idea of building a fence at the border seems to stem from the cost of fencing the entire 1,300 kilometers of land, YLE analyzes. Opponents also believe that other border control measures and resources should take precedence over fencing.
“A comprehensive fence would cost billions,” he said Heli Järvinen (Green).
“If Russia sent a group of refugees to the border, Finland would act in the same way as other EU countries: it would end the operation at its border. The legality of the answer would be examined a posteriori. That solution has nothing to do with whether or not there is a fence. “
“Fencing the border with a real structure would be shockingly expensive,” repeated Anna Kontula (LA). “I haven’t yet seen any reason why citizens’ tax money should be invested in such.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page