The Ministry of the Interior on Friday launched a new legislative project to introduce a border procedure in Finland with an approach that will fully exploit the scope of the Asylum Procedures Directive as required by any given situation, said a government press release.
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.
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.