Security and terrorism were naturally among the main items on the agenda of the government as it sat down to draft its budget for next year in Helsinki on 30–31 August, says Sampo Terho (BR), the Minister of European Affairs, Culture and Sports.
Terho on Thursday revealed that the government agreed to raise the appropriations of security authorities by 12 million and those of the Ministry of Justice by five million euros.
“Money alone isn’t the answer, however,” he said. “We’ve also agreed on measures.”
The Finnish government will according to him review the anti-terrorism legislation and address any shortcomings in order to ensure security and law enforcement authorities have access to all the tools required to combat terrorism.
“We’ll revise the nationality act to strip dual citizens who have committed terrorist offences of Finnish citizenship. We’ll make sure the police have the authority to use all necessary forcible measures to respond to serious acts of violence. We’ll criminalise efforts to facilitate illegal residence, including harbouring illegal immigrants, more clearly than before,” listed Terho.
He stressed that security authorities must have the means to intervene in such cases and return illegal immigrants to their country of origin. Unsuccessful asylum seekers will also be subjected to a threat assessment and, if necessary, taken immediately into custody to ensure they can be removed from Finland.
“We'll revise the aliens act and nationality act so that we can if necessary in the future revoke a residence permit, impose an entry ban, revoke citizenship and revoke refugee status on grounds of national security,” he told.
Terho said many of the measures were being prepared already before the knife attack that left two dead and eight injured in Turku, South-west Finland, on 18 August.
The Ministry of the Interior reminds in a press release that several measures have already been taken to promote security in Finland. The Police of Finland, it points out, has seen its appropriations increase by 44 million euros and the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) by six million euros for 2018.
“Security authorities have reviewed the measures already taken and the measures proposed that require additional resources after the suspected terror attack a fortnight ago in Turku,” Paula Risikko (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, states in the press release.
The 12 million euros added to the budgets of security authorities will be used to acquire, process and analyse information on terrorism and extremist activity and to respond to the information by, for example, monitoring counter-terrorism target individuals.
The Finnish government earmarked a total of 98 million euros on defence and security in its framework session in April.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva