Tourist visas for Russians are wanted to be limited – IL found out: This is the “Haaviston model”

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According to Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (green), the rest of the government supports the proposal, which will prioritize the visa applications of Russians in a different way in the future. restrict-il-found-out-Taumlllainen-is-Haaviston's-model-a6dd664.jpg” alt=”They want to limit the tourist visas of Russians – IL found out: This is the ”Haaviston model”” />

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (green) presented a model that would prioritize the visa applications of Russians in a different way. Mikko [email protected] Today at 19:18

President Sauli Niinistö met the government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (sd) who returned from holidays on Thursday In Kultaranta.

The topic of discussion in Kultaranta was, as expected, the tourist visas issued to Russians, which have sparked a lot of discussion.

Foreign Minister Pekka HaavistoOn Thursday, (vihr) presented the government with a model that would not block tourist visa applications, but would prioritize all other visa applications.

– The government put effort into the model. The President has of course been informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier, Haavisto tells Iltalehte.

According to Haavisto, the government gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs its support in preparing the model.

– If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs find a method of operation that is in accordance with the law and regulations and that can be implemented, then it has the support of the government.

Haavisto estimates that the model could be introduced by the end of August.

This is how the “Haavisto model” works

The model presented by Haavisto would lead to the fact that tourist visas the application period would be so long that applying for them would be less attractive for Russians.

In practice, Finland cannot prevent Russians from applying for visas, but prioritization of applications is allowed.

– We are in the Schengen system and there you can't discriminate against people based on nationality, for example, says Haavisto.

According to Haavisto, the lawyers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs interrupted their summer vacation and have studied the Schengen agreement from the angle that is for Finland in this situation possible and what not.

– This is the model they have found. We can make a system where the other 11 visa categories would take precedence over the tourist visa. Application times for tourist visas would be extended and their granting would be slowed down. It would probably have the desired effect, says Haavisto.

– This model would not categorically discriminate against anyone, but it would favor these so-called utility visas.

With utility visas Haavisto refers to visas that have been granted, for example, on the basis of a trip related to work, study or relatives.

The number of applications was surprising

Finland removed the corona restrictions on July 1st and Russia followed suit on July 15th.

According to Haavisto, the large number of Russian tourist visa applications came as a surprise and several of the government ministers were a little surprised at the situation on Thursday.

< p class="paragraph">– Many (ministers) were perhaps a little surprised that this is so difficult. Many remembered that at the beginning of the corona we just closed the borders, says Haavisto.

– Then the basis was health safety and we also closed the border to many other countries. There was no such national discrimination. It was a very different situation.

– This (visa matter) is more related to such a moral and ethical question, whether sanctions are being circumvented.

According to Haavisto, the Russians vacationing and using Helsinki-Vantaa as a connecting airport puts Finns' sense of justice to the test.

– It is difficult for people to accept that the war in Ukraine does not affect the lives of ordinary Russian people, for example vacations, in any way.

Russians started applying for tourist visas in earnest after the corona restrictions were lifted on July 15.

– The fact that the removal of restrictions has such a large impact on the number of visa applications was not anticipated. The visa queue in St. Petersburg is six weeks even with the current numbers. There are many newcomers.

According to Haavisto, under normal circumstances, Finland grants approximately 700,000 visas annually. This year, fewer than 100,000 visas have been issued.

– Compared to the past, we are already in a rather limited situation.

The loophole is being discussed

Haavisto admits that the fear is that Russians will use other countries more in the future when applying for visas. Haavisto cites as examples Greece, Italy and Spain, which issue the most visas among EU countries.

According to Haavisto, Finland intends to raise this issue at an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers at the end of August.

– At the same time, when the flights to Russia have been stopped, Russian tourism is looking to these neighboring countries to catch flights, for example to Helsinki-Vantaa. This may not have been the original purpose of the flight sanctions, that this would happen, and that is why it is good to discuss this matter with all EU and Schengen countries.

According to Haavisto, Finland has quite a bit to do , if a person arrives in Helsinki-Vantaa with a visa issued in another Schengen country.

– We are married to the Schengen system.

According to Haavisto, Finland cannot enforce national sanctions alone, but decisions must come from the EU or UN level.

– Our legislation only recognizes EU and UN sanctions. If we want this visa issue to be part of the sanctions, we need an EU decision.

Editorial: Finland cannot be a vacation and shopping paradise for Russians or a transit country 26.7.2022 13:25 More than 10,000 Russians received visas to Finland in July – this is how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds to criticism about tourists25. 7.2022 19:01 Russians avoid military service by seeking Finland with a tourist visa 27.7.2022 17:57 Kremlin: Russia would react negatively if Finland suspended issuing visas 26.7.2022 15:23

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