Ukrainian refugees offered the opportunity to move from Estonia to Finland
Estonia has received a considerable number of Ukrainian refugees considering the size of the country, and the local reception system is overburdened. To ease the situation of the refugees, Finland and Estonia will offer the opportunity for interested Ukrainians to move to Finland by group transport. Preparations for this arrangement began at Estonia’s request and they are being carried out in cooperation between the Estonian and Finnish authorities.
Finland is prepared to receive approximately 50–100 Ukrainians a week who initially fled the war to Estonia. The arrangement is scheduled to be launched in January and would remain in force until further notice. The duration of the arrangement will also be considered from the perspective of the Finnish reception system.
People entitled to temporary protection can in any case move to the EU Member State of their choice, but by coordinating transfers with Estonia, Finnish authorities can better prepare for the situation.
“In May, the Government decided that Finland is prepared to help those fleeing the war by receiving people entitled to temporary protection who are moving from other Member States. This is part of the EU’s joint efforts. It is our duty to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine,” says Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen.
Coordinated bus and ferry transports will be organised for those Ukrainians who wish to move from Estonia to Finland. Both countries are responsible for covering the costs incurred in their respective territories.
Practical preparations are currently underway. By January, the Finnish Immigration Service and Estonian immigration authorities will issue additional instructions for Ukrainians interested in moving to Finland. For the time being, their number is difficult to estimate.
About one per cent of Ukrainians who have fled to the EU have arrived in Finland
Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine has caused significant human suffering and material losses to Ukraine and its citizens.
“Ukrainians will continue to need help and protection from other countries. The ongoing fighting, the coming winter and, in particular, Russia’s attacks on the energy infrastructure weaken living conditions, and many Ukrainians are without electricity, heat or water. It is expected that in the next few months, both internal displacement and the movement towards the EU will start to grow again,” Minister Mikkonen says.
Approximately 46,000 Ukrainians have applied for temporary protection in Finland, and currently about 400–500 new applications are registered every week. So far, approximately 41,000 Ukrainians have applied for temporary protection in Estonia, which is almost the same as in Finland, even though Estonia is a smaller country in terms of population. About 4 million applications for temporary protection have been registered in the entire EU. Finland accounts for about one per cent of this number.
Mari Helenius, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 214, [email protected] (available from 14.30)
Mikko Jalo, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 304 8522, [email protected] (requests for interviews with the Minister)