The Estonian government has approved a bill from the Ministry of Interior to amend the National Borders Act and related laws.
These new changes have been introduced in order to allow the country’s authorities to better contain mass immigration in the event of an emergency in the event that internationals cross the border of the Baltic State illegally and submit applications for international protection not founded.
The bill will be forwarded to the Riigikogu for deliberations, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
“The amendment to the State Borders Act is necessary so that the police can also do their job in situations where foreigners are used as a weapon to organize a hybrid attack, as we have seen at the borders of Belarus and the European Union”, stressed in this regard the Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani.
The Minister said that each country has the right to control the entry as well as the stay and departure of people who are not nationals of that country.
“We are also ready to fulfill our international obligations, including the obligation to provide international protection to foreigners who need it,” Jaani pointed out.
In accordance with the amendment, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) cannot accept an application for international protection from an international who has reached the country illegally in an emergency in order to bring him back without issuing a precept of departure or a decision to refuse entry.
Internationals can only enter Estonia via the external border through an open border crossing point.
In addition, the amendment gives the PPA the right to determine where internationals can apply for international protection.
According to the draft law, the involvement of the Defense Forces as well as the Defense League in the protection of public and constitutional order will also be relaxed in the event that the resources of the Police and Border Guard Board run out. would be insufficient. .
“At present, the Defense Forces or the Defense League can be involved for up to 30 days, but this does not correspond to the evolution of the security situation, where the need for involvement may be longer”, reads the statement of the Estonian government.
Since the summer of 2021, the Baltic States, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Poland, have received a large number of citizens who have tried to enter these territories illegally.
Last year, a total of 8,267 third-country nationals illegally entered these two Baltic countries as well as Poland from Belarus.
Among them, a total of 4,226 were in Lithuania, 446 in Latvia and a total of 3,495 in Poland.
In addition, 12,143 applications for international protection were filed, including 3,826 in Lithuania, 613 in Latvia and a total of 7,704 in Poland.
The three countries mentioned above blocked a total of 48,445 attempts to illegally enter European Union countries. According to the Estonian authorities, the majority of them were Iraqi citizens of Kurdish origin.