Finland is committed to fully implementing these sanctions, emphasizing the effectiveness of their implementation and preventing sanctions evasion. Since border states are particularly vulnerable to attempts to avoid these sanctions, Finland emphasizes the importance of uniform interpretation of sanctions regulations among EU member states, especially at the border.
On September 8, the European Commission published an instruction related to the ban on the import of passenger cars into the European Union, which specifies that the import of cars registered in Russia, even temporarily for tourism purposes, is unequivocally prohibited under the Council Regulation (EU). No. 833/2014. This directive was updated on 12 September, highlighting the significant risk of evasion of sanctions related to the importation of vehicles.
Finnish Customs starts applying this national directive after midnight, when passenger cars with Russian license plates are banned from entering Finland. As an exception to this rule, vehicles of EU/EEA citizens (including dual citizens) and their family members permanently residing in Russia are included. In addition, diplomatic vehicles and persons arriving for humanitarian reasons are exempted from the ban.
Owners of vehicles that were already in Finland before the ban have until March 16, 2024 to ensure that the vehicles leave the country. Although these guidelines focus on vehicle entry, they do not change the criteria for personal entry.
Furthermore, the directive is not only limited to private vehicles, but also extends to vehicles used for commercial purposes. The restrictions apply to all vehicles intended primarily for passenger transport, including passenger cars, tourist vehicles and minibuses with a capacity of less than 10 passengers.
The cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and customs has been central to the preparation of this directive. In Finland, the supervisory authority for EU sanctions against Russia rests with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and customs as the executive body.
Sami Rakshit, head of the control department, emphasized the importance of cooperation between EU border states in ensuring effective enforcement of sanctions. In particular, neighboring countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania introduce similar regulations for vehicles registered in Russia. Rakshit also emphasized that, in addition to the eastern border, the Finnish customs monitors the entry of Russian vehicles to the Norwegian border, because Norway is not a member of the EU and sanctions prohibit the import of cars into the EU.
Finland’s latest move is a clear indication of its commitment to complying with EU sanctions and ensures robust measures to curb possible circumvention attempts.
Source: The Nordic Page