Published: 10:10, May 22, 2024
Finnish govt proposes controversial border pushback bill to parliament
By Xinhua
The closed Vaalimaa border station between Finland and Russia is pictured on Dec 7, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

HELSINKI - The Finnish government on Tuesday submitted to parliament a controversial bill that would authorize pushing back asylum seekers at the eastern border and would also allow for the use of force.

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As parts of the bill are not in line with either the Finnish constitution, European Union legislation, or international agreements Finland holds, the bill will require a large majority of five-sixths in parliament.

Under the proposed law, Finland could suspend the reception of applications for international protection (asylum) for one month at a time. Migrants who have already crossed the border could be pushed back

Under the proposed law, Finland could suspend the reception of applications for international protection (asylum) for one month at a time. Migrants who have already crossed the border could be pushed back, or advised to go to a location where they can submit an application. Border guards will be allowed to use force, but they will also have the authority to decide on exceptional entry for asylum-seekers in real danger.

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Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told a press conference on Tuesday that he believes the bill will be supported by parliament.

The proposed bill was widely debated in Finland during the spring, and drew criticism from legal scholars and ministries. The Ministry of Justice said that Finland cannot "through its national legislation unilaterally break the international obligations" it has adopted.

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The leaders of Finland's largest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, have said they will await the position of the parliamentary constitutional committee before deciding whether to support the bill. Finland does not have a constitutional court, but its parliamentary constitutional committee plays a similar role.