Skip to content

Finland practices for mass migrant event

Various government agencies are testing their readiness in the face of a sudden wave of migrants.

A yellow ribbon is attached to a tree, which reads "no trespassing without permission". In the background, two people are walking along a forest path.
The exercise will focus on thwarting illegal migration. Picture from the Vaalimaa border area. Image: Rajavartiolaitos
Yle News

This week the Finnish Border Guard is leading a major joint preparedness exercise focused on a major migrant influx into Finland.

The exercise, called Latu 23, tests how Finland would cope with a significant number of people arriving at its borders in a short period of time.

"The exercise involves the authorities trying to manage a situation where a large number of migrants arrive in a short period," said Jussi Napola of the Finnish Border Guard, who added that combating hybrid influence is another priority.

While led by the Finnish Border Guard, the effort includes representatives from the Defense Forces, the Finnish Immigration Service, ministries and regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment (ELY centers).

All in all, some 1,000 people are participating in Latu 23, including international experts from the European Union Agency for Asylum, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) as well as the Estonian Police and Border Guard.

The exercise, running from 2-6 October, is taking place in the Helsinki metropolitan area, the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland as well as in southeastern Finland.

Hybrid threats

Last year, Finnish MPs approved changes to the country's border laws to enable authorities to shut down borders or limit the number of border crossing points during exceptional circumstances.

The law grew out of concern that a hybrid attack could potentially be aimed at Finland's eastern border with Russia. In 2021, Belarus attempted to push throusands of migrants into the EU.

During Europe's migration crisis in 2015, some 32,000 asylum seekers arrived in Finland.

Would you like a roundup of the week's top stories in your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up to receive our weekly email.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia