On Thursday, Finnish MPs approved the amendments to the country’s border law, which give the authorities the possibility to close borders or limit the number of border crossing points in exceptional circumstances.
The change aims to protect the country from hybrid attacks that could potentially target its eastern border with Russia. Poland and the Baltic countries were in a similar situation last year, when Belarus organized a large number of migrants to try to enter the EU.
The possibility of limiting border crossings and centralizing asylum applications has been seen as a priority against the backdrop of the changed security situation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Ministry of the Interior announced the change plans in March.
However, the MPs did not vote on the issue due to the MP’s counter motion Ano Turtiainen (VKK) did not receive enough support.
Discussions and committees
However, the law change sparked a lot of discussion in parliament.
Earlier this week MPs included Veronika Honkasalo from the left alliance and Eva Biaudet A representative of the Swedish People’s Party said they wanted the bill to be returned to the Constitutional Committee, but the measure failed.
Honkasalo suggested that the legislation as such could be against international law.
On Thursday, veteran NCP MP Ben Zyskowicz strongly defended the change.
"With this law, we are trying to send a message that using people as a tool – as we saw the company at the border of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania – would not succeed in Finland." Zyskowicz said.
He said that the Constitution Committee had found "there is no legal obstacle to decide on the number of border crossing points or their location."
The central point of the administrative committee’s report was that the reception of asylum seekers can be located elsewhere than at Finland’s eastern border in the event that Russia uses refugees as a tool of hybrid influence, as Belarus did last year.
The administrative committee deals with, among other things, matters in the border guard sector; state, regional and local government; immigration issues and many others.
The MPs also hinted at a law according to which the country’s emergency law could be quickly put into effect during the remaining term of the government.
Source: The Nordic Page