Finnish PM Urges EU Assistance to Curb Migrant Influx from Russia

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo has called upon the European Union to provide support in stemming the flow of migrants arriving from Russia, highlighting the need for collaborative measures to address the challenge posed by irregular migration.

Speaking during a visit to Finland’s border with Russia alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister Orpo underscored the urgency of the situation and stressed the importance of EU intervention to complement Finland’s domestic efforts.

Finland took the decision to close its lengthy border with Russia last year in response to a surge in migrant arrivals, predominantly from conflict-ridden nations like Syria and Somalia. Authorities in Finland have accused Moscow of exploiting migration as a geopolitical tool against both Finland and the EU, an assertion vehemently denied by the Kremlin.

Prime Minister Orpo emphasized the necessity of both national legislation and coordinated EU measures to effectively address the challenges posed by irregular migration. While Finland is actively preparing its own legislation, Orpo emphasized the need for complementary actions at the EU level to bolster border security and manage migration flows effectively.

Echoing Orpo’s sentiments, President von der Leyen affirmed the EU’s commitment to collaborating with countries of origin and transit to address the root causes of migration. She echoed Finland’s concerns regarding the instrumentalization of migrants for political ends, labeling it a clear security issue requiring collective action.

Acknowledging the delicate balance between safeguarding border security and upholding international obligations, von der Leyen stressed the importance of implementing measures that strike a harmonious equilibrium between these objectives.

Taking cues from neighboring countries like Poland and Lithuania, which have faced similar challenges on their borders with Belarus, Finland is in the process of drafting legislation to empower border guards to prevent the entry of asylum seekers arriving from Russia.

As Finland navigates the complexities of managing irregular migration, the call for EU assistance underscores the imperative of solidarity and cooperation among member states in addressing shared challenges and upholding the principles of security and humanitarianism.