Finnish political party leaders voice support for partial border closure | New

Finnish border guards have proposed that between 130 and 260 kilometers of partial fences be built along the 1,300 kilometer border between Finland and Russia.

Riikka Purra of the Party of Finland (Centre) and NCP President Petteri Orpo during the meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Image: Silja Viitala/Yle

Leaders of Finland’s main political parties have given their backing to a proposal by Finnish border guards to build a partial fence along the country’s eastern border with Russia.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) convened a cross-party meeting of leaders on Tuesday evening to discuss the proposal, and where it received broad support.

Marin had told reporters upon arriving at the meeting that political support for the proposal was so strong because the views of border guards were trustworthy.

“It’s about being able to make sure that the border is well controlled and we can preemptively influence situations that may arise at the border,” Marin said.

Petteri Orpochairman of the opposition National Coalition party, reminded reporters on his arrival that his party had long supported the idea of ​​a fence along the eastern border.

“The world has become as it is needed. Now everyone sees it as essential,” Orpo said, adding that he also wanted to know from the government whether Finland was prepared to close the border completely if a large number of asylum seekers were arriving from Russia.

The main section of the proposed fence would be located in southeastern Finland. Image: Rea Lemström / Yle

Finnish party chair Rikka Purrameanwhile, questioned why a meeting of the parties was necessary, as there is already a consensus across the political spectrum on the need for a border fence.

In response to a media question based on Purra’s comment, the Home Secretary Krista Mikkonen (Green) said it is important that the proposal be widely discussed between the parties because it is a long-term and large-scale project.

Border guards have proposed that between 130 and 260 kilometers of partial fences be built along the 1,300 kilometer border between Finland and Russia.

The main section of the proposed fence would be located around border checkpoints in southeastern Finland, but could also be built at border crossing points further north. The cost of the project is estimated at hundreds of millions of euros and the construction would take about 3 to 4 years.

Speaking to Yle News’ All Points North Podcast, Matti PitkäniittyHead of the Finnish Border Guard’s International Affairs Unit, said Finland’s border policy must adapt to the changing nature of modern migration.

“The world has moved on and our fundamental conclusion is that our traditional ways, our traditional way of working, are not up to the task that we see in the world today,” Pitkäniitty said.

You can listen to the full podcast using the built-in player here, through Yle Areena, on Spotify, or through the options found in this article.

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