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Draft act to combat instrumentalised migration sent out for comments

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of the Interior
Publication date 15.3.2024 12.46
Press release

On 15 March, the Ministry of the Interior sent out for comments a draft act on temporary measures to combat instrumentalised migration. The deadline for submitting comments is 25 March. The proposed act is scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible. The act would be temporary and would be valid for one year after its entry into force.

The act would lay down 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. The decision would be made following prior cooperation with the President of the Republic. The act could only be applied in situations where it is essential to combat efforts to exert influence on Finland in a way that seriously endangers our sovereignty or national security. The decision could be made proactively and for a maximum of one month at a time.

In such cases, applications for international protection would not be accepted, apart from certain exceptions, and those seeking to enter the country would be prevented from doing so. Persons seeking international protection would be removed from the country and directed to a place where applications for international protection are being received.

The regulation would only apply to serious incidents of instrumentalised migration, and it would not affect applications for international protection elsewhere in Finland.

The act would allow the border crossing points on the eastern border to remain open to other traffic, as it would restrict only the reception of applications for international protection in the event of instrumentalised migration.

Based on an assessment, other means would not be effective in preventing efforts to put pressure on Finland through instrumentalised migration. National and international law do not currently include procedures to effectively combat instrumentalised migration. However, the Member States' legitimate need to be able to protect their territory has been recognised at the EU level.

Effective measures to combat instrumentalised migration

The purpose of the draft act is to ensure preparedness for the most serious incidents of instrumentalised migration and safeguard the ability of the authorities to act in the most serious situations.

The act is scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible. However, the application of the act would require a separate decision made by a government plenary session. The decision would be made following prior cooperation with the President of the Republic.

The preparations have examined the possibility of enacting legislation on the matter using the procedure for constitutional enactment, if necessary.  There are compelling reasons for enacting an exceptive act, as the public authorities do not currently have sufficient means to combat serious instrumentalisation of migration. The exceptive act would be in force only for a limited time as required by the Constitutional Law Committee of Parliament.

Russia has been using instrumentalised migration against Finland since autumn 2023. Finland must be prepared for the possibility that Russia will exert prolonged pressure on Finland and that we will see more serious and larger-scale instrumentalised migration. Finland’s eastern border is an external border of both the EU and NATO. The external border of the Schengen area must not become a pathway for instrumentalised migration into Europe.

Sanna Palo, Chief of Legal Division, Border Guard Department, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 421601