Ministry of the Interior to continue preparations to introduce border procedure
On 28 July, the Ministry of the Interior launched a new legislative project to introduce a border procedure in Finland. Due to time constraints, Parliament did not finish its consideration of the previous Government’s legislative proposal, which then lapsed. Now preparations are about to continue under the new Government Programme.
According to the Programme of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo's Government, Finland will introduce a border procedure with an approach that will fully exploit the scope of the Asylum Procedures Directive as required by any given situation.
The government proposal for amending the Aliens Act to reflect the changes is due to be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session 2023. The amendments are scheduled to enter into force as soon as possible.
The legislative project will introduce into Finnish law the accelerated procedure referred to in the Asylum Procedures Directive for processing, where needed, the applications of asylum seekers who have entered Finland. Applications could be processed immediately at or near the border to stop applicants moving freely in Finland or to other EU Member States. In other words, the border procedure seeks to prevent irregular secondary movement of applicants between Member States.
Under the Directive, the border procedure would only be applicable when considering applications which are made at external borders or near them and which are likely to be unfounded.
According to the new government proposal, the procedure will apply, as specified in the Directive, to any circumstances caused by migration. According to the lapsed proposal, the procedure would have only been deployed by a government decision in the event of large-scale or instrumentalised migration.
The proposal drafting will make use of the reports and assessments completed during the previous project and the opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee on the matter. Last year, a working group of the Ministry of the Interior assessed the need to amend legislation in order to prepare for hybrid influence activities exploiting migration. The working group was set up after Belarus sought to exert influence on Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in autumn 2021. According to the working group report, the border procedure would be one tool to manage such situations.
Finland has already taken a range of precautions to prevent hybrid influence activities exploiting migrants. For example, border crossing points can be closed for a fixed period or until further notice should this be necessary for reasons of security or public health.
Sanna Montin, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 314, Migration Department, [email protected] (until 28 July)
Sanna Sutter, Director of Development and Steering, tel. +358 295 488 200 (from 31 July)
Kukka Krüger, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 270, Migration Department, [email protected] (from 7 August)