Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (PS) attended a plenary session in parliament on Friday, 16 February 2024. Rantanen on Monday told YLE that the Ministry of the Interior is looking into enacting an emergency act to enable authorities to deal with possible escalation of the situation on the border between Finland and Russia. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE MINISTRY of the Interior is considering enacting an emergency act to tackle weaponised migration across the border between Finland and Russia, reports YLE.

Border-crossing points along the border began reporting unusually high numbers of asylum applicants last autumn. The Finnish government soon concluded that the migrants are likely receiving assistance getting to the border from border and security officials in Russia.

The Ministry of the Interior, for example, viewed in a report that Russia is using migrants to apply pressure and undermine security in Finland.

Tackling the phenomenon with a piece of emergency legislation is one of the options weighed up in a legislative project launched by the ministry, according to YLE. Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (PS) stated to the public broadcasting company yesterday that the objective of the project is to provide authorities tools to respond to threats at the border in the eventuality that the situation becomes more difficult.

“We’ll look to draft this on a very short timetable, so that the proposal can be presented to parliament in March,” she said.

“We don’t yet have detailed information on what the legislation will contain. I’m sure we’ll receive more information shortly,” she added. “It must contain measures that ultimately enable us to prepare for the kind of most serious situations that we can’t tackle with powers granted under the current legislation.”

The lawmaking process, she added, will not start from scratch as ministry officials have carried out preparatory work over the winter months.

An emergency act refers to a piece of legislation that effectively is in conflict with constitutional rights, such as basic human rights. Such an act can be enacted under a so-called qualified procedure, meaning the bill has to first be declared urgent by a five-sixths majority and subsequently approved by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

“I’m personally under the impression that parliament is well aware of the current security environment and understands very well what we’re talking about when we’re talking about border security, weaponised migration and the threats related to it,” Rantanen said to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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