Finland is looking for a solution to restrict tourist visas for Russians

Finland is looking for a solution to restrict tourist visas for Russians

In the absence of a solution at European level on issuing visas to Russian citizens, Finland intends to interpret the EU and Schengen agreements itself in order to work out its own solution. This decision follows an increase in the number of Russians crossing their border following the announcement of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization.

The Baltic states and Poland have already banned Russians from entering the country, while Finland is sticking to the Schengen agreements and awaiting EU guidelines. As a result, the country was the only land border through which Russian citizens could enter the Union.

The Russian President’s speech has made this policy obsolete and it is expected that the number of Russians willing to leave the country will increase. At the UN assembly, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said stricter restrictions are now needed.

Chancellor Tuomas Pöysti paved the way for new regulations on Thursday (22 September). In conversation with the Finnish newspaper evening newsMr Pöysti said attempts to find a common position on visas within the EU could now be seen as a failure.

The government and authorities therefore have more leeway, also in the legal framework. However, with no time for new legislation, there may be only one alternative: independent interpretation of the EU and Schengen agreements, Pöysti said.

Political splits are expected in the Finnish parliament. The opposition, particularly the Finnish nationalist party, is said to be ready to close the border if necessary, while Interior Minister Krista Mikkonen (Greens) says such measures are premature.

On Thursday morning, Finnish border guards tweeted that 4,824 Russian citizens crossed the border at border crossings in southeastern Finland on Wednesday, a 57% increase from the previous week.

Testimonies collected in the afternoon mentioned queues of several hundred meters, but the situation appeared calm and under control.

At the same time, more and more Russian citizens are said to have entered Serbia this week, despite the high price of flight tickets (up to 9,000 euros), all of which are sold out.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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