At an emergency meeting of EU interior ministers on Monday Interior Minsiter Petteri Orpo said that the situation with refugees and migrants entering the country is “out of control”. Within a short time, 1,600 asylum seekers have arrived in Finland, the majority entering across the country’s open, northern border with Sweden.
A reported 300 refugees and migrants crossed the Lapland border into Finland on Sunday, while trains from Lapland towards the south of the country were also said to be carrying hundreds of people, Yle reports.
Speaking in Brussels, Orpo said that surveillance of the border will be increased in order to register anyone attempting to enter the country without the required papers. He said that Finland is not planning to re-instigate full border checks, although he said that officials have the capacity to do so if necessary.
At a meeting in the Finnish Government on Thursday, the Ministry of the Interior will present a proposal to authorize the Finnish Immigration Service to set up centers for speeding up the initial reception of asylum seekers, the government’s website reads.
The centers will help to reduce the backlog in registration at police stations. Any premises where people can be provided with decent shelter, food and washing facilities are suitable for use as such centers.
The first refugee reception center will be set up in Northern Finland, possibly in the city of Oulu, according to Yle.
As BarentsObserver reported, Norway is in the process of opening up its first refugee reception center in Kirkenes on the border to Russia. The local authorities in Sør-Varanger municipality at an extraordinary meeting on Monday evening decided to open a center for up to 150 people in a sport hall in town, Sør-Varanger Avis writes. This hall was also used as a refugee center during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, when more than 900 people were flown from Macedonia to Kirkenes.