Finland is trying to limit the tourist visas granted to Russians, Haavisto tells Helsingin Sanomat

Finland is trying to limit the tourist visas granted to Russians, Haavisto tells Helsingin Sanomat

One option, he added, is to favor certain types of visas over others by limiting the time it takes to apply for tourist visas.

“The idea is that we would limit the application time for tourist visas and we could prioritize visas that are useful, but not for tourism to Finland,” he explained to the newspaper. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs could implement such a system. We understand that this would be fully in line with the rules of the Schengen system.

According to Haavisto, Finland will consider the idea when EU foreign ministers meet in the Czech Republic at the end of August. In the country’s opinion, the issue should be approached from a broader perspective.

“Of course, this applies to all of Schengen [Area]. For example, at Helsinki-Vantaa airport, you see a lot of people with visas from other Schengen countries. Many countries issue more visas than Finland, he said.

The rules of the Schengen system do not give Finland the opportunity to prevent Russians with tourist visas from entering the country completely, Haavisto admitted. Finland also does not have domestic tools that would make it possible.

“If it were a question of sanctions against the Russians, the decision would have to be made at the EU level. This is the current difference between us and some other EU countries,” he said. “It is important to look at the legal basis. Officials cannot make illegal decisions.”

Haavisto said that the government also discussed the lack of so-called humanitarian visas in Finland. Some government officials are open to creating a visa type to offer a special visa to at-risk groups such as journalists and political dissidents, who currently must obtain tourist visas.

He also reminded that closing the borders of some nationalities is far from simple.

“Many think, possibly due to the coronavirus pandemic, that closing the border of some nationalities is simple, but that is not necessarily true. We also have to recognize that the Schengen area was not designed for the conditions we are in, he commented.

“We will see during August what kind of domestic actions could be taken. Such that we could facilitate the issuance of other visas and reduce the number of tourist visas.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page

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