Finland eyes tougher legislation to boost borders and national security

By Thomson Reuters Feb 19, 2024 | 11:21 AM

(Reuters) – Finland, which accuses Moscow of funnelling migrants to its eastern border, plans to amend legislation to boost border and national security and fight what it calls “instrumentalised migration,” the interior ministry said on Monday.

Finland closed its long eastern border with Russia late last year after an unusually large inflow of people from countries including Syria and Somalia. The Kremlin has denied Finland’s claims on funnelling migrants to the border.

The ministry said in a statement that the funnelling was a Russian attempt to influence Finland’s national security.

“The project will prepare legislative amendments that will help strengthen border security and effectively combat any attempts to put pressure on Finland in the form of instrumentalised migration,” it said.

“Legislation will be amended to protect Finland against threats to its national security,” it said, without providing detail about the amendments.

Earlier this month, as the government extended border controls, the ministry said hundreds of migrants were waiting near the Russian side of the border to enter Finland.

It said on Monday the amended legislation would be used as a “last resort”.

“This will ensure that the authorities are able to address the most serious incidents of instrumentalised migration,” it said.

The government aims to submit a proposal on the amendments to parliament in March.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; additional reporting by Anne Kauranen in Helsinki; Editing by Leslie Adler)