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Interior Minister: Finland to discontinue temporary border policy with Russia

Finland will not be renewing its temporary border agreement with Russia, according to Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko and daily Helsingin Sanomat. The minister bases the decision on the apparently stable situation of Finland's borders, which saw a great deal of migrant traffic last year. One researcher disagrees with the assessment.

Paula Risikko
Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko pictured being interviewed by Yle in June. Image: Yle

Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko says in an interview with top daily Helsingin Sanomat that Finland's temporary agreement to only let Finns, Russians and Belarusians cross the border in Lapland between Russia and Finland will not be renewed.

Leader of the Finnish Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies (Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki) Markku Kivinen says he is "astonished" that a new agreement is not currently under discussion.

"There are still grounds for the agreement to remain in place," Kivinen says in HS.

The six-month agreement will come to an end in October. Kivinen says that unbridled immigration at the Salla and Raja-Jooseppi border control stations has been curbed thanks to the limitation agreement.

The researcher says that in European terms the migrant crisis is still ongoing, and that no country should be lulled into a false sense of security.

In November, 2015 more than 1,700 asylum seekers traveled to Finland's eastern border. The high number came as a surprise to Finland's government, as previously Russia had prevented undocumented immigrants from entering the country.

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