The parliamentary committee recommends closing the eastern border in exceptional cases

The Parliamentary Administration Committee has proposed amendments to the Act that could be introduced in exceptional circumstances.

The provisions include allowing border crossings at certain border crossing points and concentrating asylum applications on only one border crossing point.

In its press release on the results, the committee stated that members unanimously endorsed the report’s conclusions.

The task of the committee was to suggest ways in which could prepare for and prevent effects at the country’s borders.

Such a hybrid tactic could be that a foreign country directs large numbers of asylum seekers to the Finnish border, such as the situation at the Polish-Belarusian border in November 2021 – which prompted Finland to consider changes to existing laws.

The possibility of limiting border crossings and centralizing asylum applications has been seen as a priority against the backdrop of the changed situation after ’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Committee: Proposals send “clear message”

Chairman of the Committee and Director of Basic told that the committee wanted to clarify the and justifications of the government’s proposal on closing the border and centralizing asylum applications.

He added that if the provisions were used, asylum applications could only be lodged at a designated central border crossing point, such as -Vantaa Airport.

"In such situations, applying for asylum through the eastern border would be impossible," he said.

"Discretion should, of course, be exercised in the case of individuals who are in a very vulnerable position, such as children or people with disabilities. This is what the border guards are doing at the moment."

The committee’s press release emphasized that asylum applications will only be concentrated in one place if it is deemed necessary to prevent a serious threat.

Member of the Committee and Member of Parliament Eveliina Heinäluoma (SDP) told Yle that the changes are intended to send a clear message: Finland will not be pressured by hybrid influence.

"This also sends a pre-emptive message that such hybrid impact measures should not be undertaken in the first place. We do not want any person or completely innocent party to fall victim to Russian meddling," Heinäluoma said.

Source: The Nordic Page

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