Haavisto: Fast solution for Finland to limit tourist visas for Russians

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The minister said he was disappointed with the way the EU handled the visa issue and that introducing restrictions on the Schengen system had proved difficult.

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

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) announced on Wednesday that Finland is urgently looking for a solution to limit the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens.

The minister said Finland does not want to become a transit country for Russian tourists seeking 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 the House of Representatives.

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“There is no moral or ethical basis for Russian tourism to continue normally. We have raised this issue many times in the EU,” Haavisto said.

According to the minister, Finland now wants a national solution to achieve this. Haavisto noted that he was disappointed with the way the EU handled the visa issue, and that introducing restrictions on the Schengen system had proved difficult.

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While Finland has significantly reduced the number of tourist visas granted to Russians, 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 mobilization of 300,000 reserves on Wednesday, attempts could be made to cross the border into Finland from Russia for several reasons.

“This is another reason why stricter controls at the border are necessary,” Haavisto said.

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On Monday, Finland called on the European Commission to issue an EU-wide recommendation that would limit Russian citizens’ entry to EU countries with a tourist visa.

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