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Government proposal for a border security act submitted to Parliament

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of the Interior
Publication date 21.5.2024 9.11
Press release

The Government submitted a proposal to Parliament for an act on temporary measures to combat instrumentalised migration on 21 May. The aim of the act is to improve border security and ensure that Finland has effective means at its disposal to combat instrumentalised migration that is being used to pressure Finland. The aim is also to prepare for more serious instances of instrumentalised migration.

The legislative proposal includes provisions on the conditions under which a government plenary session could decide to restrict the reception of applications for international protection in a limited area on Finland's national border and in its immediate vicinity. Such a decision would be made following prior cooperation with the President of the Republic.

Applying the act would require highly exceptional and pressing reasons. Doing so would always require knowledge or a justified suspicion that a foreign state is attempting to influence Finland in a way that poses a serious threat to Finland’s sovereignty and national security and no other means are sufficient to resolve the situation. The decision could be made for a maximum of one month at a time.

Apart from certain exceptions, applications for international protection would not be received in the area subject to the restriction, and instrumentalised migrants would be prevented from entering the country.  A migrant who has already entered the country would be removed from the country without delay and instructed to travel to a place where applications for international protection are being received.

Circumstances permitting, the border crossing points on the eastern border could remain open to other passenger traffic even if the reception of asylum applications were restricted for a fixed period.

Finland must be prepared for more serious developments

The Government considers the proposal’s objectives to be acceptable and of high importance. Finland must be prepared for the possibility that Russia will continue to exert pressure for a long time and in more serious and larger-scale ways.

Other possible means to combat the threat of instrumentalised migration have been carefully assessed during the legislative drafting process. Based on the assessment, other means would not be effective in preventing efforts to put pressure on Finland through instrumentalised migration, because current national and international law lack sufficient procedures.

The proposal can be considered a limited derogation from the Constitution. The act would only be used in highly exceptional situations. It would remain in force for one year from entering into force, and thus, would also be limited in duration.

The act is intended to enter into force as soon as possible. The act must be enacted as an exceptive act. Bringing the act into force requires that it be declared urgent with a five-sixths majority. After that it could be passed with a two-thirds majority during the same government term.

Finland seeking EU-level solutions

The threat of instrumentalised migration on Finland's eastern border, which began in the autumn of 2023, remains high. The border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia are closed until further notice based on a government decision.

The objective of instrumentalised migration is to influence the security and social stability of Finland and the EU. Finland’s eastern border is the longest external border that both the EU and NATO have with Russia. This is why Finland's goal is to find EU-level solutions to combat instrumentalised migration. 

Sanna Palo, Chief of Legal Division, tel. +358 295 421 601, [email protected], Border Guard Department, Ministry of the Interior