Finland's entire eastern border to be closed
The Government has decided to close the border crossing point of Raja-Jooseppi during the night between Wednesday and Thursday, that is, as of 30 November 2023. The decision means that all border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia will be closed until 13 December. It will not be possible to submit applications for international protection at any border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia. The Government decided on this new restriction at an extraordinary session on 28 November 2023.
“Russia is enabling the instrumentalisation of people and guiding them to the Finnish border in harsh winter conditions. Finland is determined to put an end to this phenomenon,” says Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.
“In the current situation, it is necessary to close the entire eastern border. We have taken this decision to protect Finland's national security against this Russian hybrid operation,” says Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen.
Entry into Finland at the eastern border has continued despite earlier restrictions. According to the assessment of the Government and Finnish authorities, instrumentalised migration and the risk of its escalation pose a serious threat to national security and public order.
Since the beginning of August, almost 1,000 third-country nationals have arrived in Finland without a visa via the border crossing points at the eastern border. Most of them have applied for asylum in Finland.
In the present situation, the Government has concluded that these are very exceptional circumstances as referred to in the statement of the Constitutional Law Committee. In such very exceptional circumstances, the short-term total closure of the eastern border is a necessary and proportionate measure to put an end to this phenomenon and to limit the serious consequences that it has for national security and public order.
Applications for international protection can no longer be submitted at the eastern border
As of 30 November 2023, it will no longer be possible to apply for international protection at the border crossing points on the land border between Finland and Russia. At Finland's external borders, it will only be possible to apply for international protection at open border crossing points for air and maritime traffic.
Finnish citizens will also have to use open border crossing points.
Decision based on Border Guard Act
According to section 16 of the Border Guard Act, the Government may decide to close border crossing points for a fixed period or until further notice if it is necessary to prevent a serious threat to public order, national security or public health. The Government may also centralise the submission of applications for international protection at one or more border crossing points.
The Government and authorities are closely monitoring the situation at Finland’s eastern border. Finland will ensure the security of its borders, public order and national security.