Finland steps up border checks for Trump-Putin summit

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Police officers patrol the Helsinki-Vantaa airport in March 2016. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva/Reuters)
Finland will require travellers from Schengen countries to pass through border control for the next four days, to coincide with a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, on Monday, July 16. The Finnish government decided on the matter in a meeting on July 13, after a proposal from the country’s interior ministry.

The stepped up checks will begin on Friday, June 13 at noon and continue until next Tuesday, July 17 at noon. They are known as ‘internal’ checks, as they are internal to the Schengen common travel area encompassing 26 European countries.

Finland’s interior ministry released a statement on Friday that said that the internal border controls will be aimed at identifying foreign nationals travelling to or from Finland who might pose a risk.

Internal border checks twice since 2001

A Border Guard representative told Yle on Monday that the ‘internal’ border checks will apply to travellers entering and exiting the country. The border authorities say they will be focusing their checks on the main airports and harbours in Finland, as well as the most commonly-used border crossings in the north of the country.

The internal border controls will not be carried out on all passengers, as the checks will be based on the Finnish authorities’ intelligence work and analysis.

No additional travel documents are required, the Ministry of the Interior says, but travellers should be prepared to prove their identity and right to travel if they are stopped for border control or immigration monitoring.

Finland stopped requiring border checks from travellers from countries that are part of the Schengen Area in 2001.

Border controls were briefly reinstated on two earlier occasions in Finland: in 2005 for the track and field world championships, held in Helsinki, and in 2008, for a meeting of the ministerial council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada extends air defence monitoring zone to entire Canadian Arctic, Radio Canada International

Finland: Various protests planned in Helsinki for Trump-Putin summit, Yle News

Norway: Norway scrambles F-16 as Russian aircraft train over Kola Peninsula and Barents Sea, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia upgrades Northern Fleet airbase, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden issues first brochure on war and crisis preparedness since Cold War, Radio Sweden

United States: American fighter jets intercept Russian bombers outside Alaska, Alaska Public Media

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