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Haavisto: Finland fast-tracking solution to restrict tourist visas for Russians

The minister said that he was disappointed with the EU's handling of the visa issue, and that introducing restrictions to the Schengen system had proven difficult.

File photo. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle

Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) announced on Wednesday that Finland is urgently seeking a solution to restrict the issuing of tourist visas to Russian citizens.

The minister said Finland did not want to become a transit country for Russian tourists aiming to access to the rest of Europe. According to Haavisto, experts from various ministries were currently working on a solution and the matter would soon be submitted to Parliament.

"There is no moral or ethical basis for allowing Russian tourism to continue as normal. We have often raised this issue in the EU," Haavisto said.

According to the minister, Finland now wants a national solution to ensure this happens. Haavisto noted that he was disappointed with the EU's handling of the visa issue, and that introducing restrictions to the Schengen system had proven difficult.

Although Finland reduced the number of tourist visas granted to Russians considerably, not all countries have followed suit. As a result, a national solution is now being prepared.

Haavisto noted that with the Kremlin announcing the partial mobilisation of 300,000 reserves on Wednesday, there may be attempts to cross the border into Finland from Russia for a variety of reasons.

"This is another reason why tighter controls at the border are necessary," Haavisto said.

On Monday, Finland appealed to the European Commission to issue an EU-wide recommendation that would restrict the entry of Russian citizens into EU countries under tourism visas.

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