Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that Finland no longer wishes to be a “transit country” for Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued by other European Union member-states.
“Finland does not want to be a transit country, not even for the holders of Schengen visas issued by other nations,” the minister declared, adding that Helsinki is currently working on new laws that would farther tighten curbs on visitors from Russian Federation and bring the Russian tourist traffic “under control.”
Finland’s Foreign Ministry is currently working with a group of experts on measures to allow the Nordic country to “limit this traffic or completely stop it,” Haavisto said, adding that the measures might involve new laws or changes to existing ones.
Russians cannot continue to spend their vacations in Europe as usual when their nation is waging a war, Finnish Minister said.
In any case, the national parliament “will quickly deal with it,” he said, without naming any specific dates for potential changes.
Finland already has a mechanism in place that allows it to deny visas to Russians and deny entry to those who already have them. Earlier this week, Helsinki asked Brussels to allow European Union countries denying entry to Russians to revoke their visas or place them on a Schengen entry ban list as well, thereby preventing people from entering the bloc through another member state’s territory.
The European Union suspended a visa facilitation agreement with Russia earlier this month. Some member states also stopped issuing tourist and business visas, while Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland announced they would deny entry to all Russian citizens, even those with valid Schengen visas issued by other EU members, citing security threats.