Saturday. 23.02.2019
El tiempo

Finland includes massive immigration among the main "threats" to national security

The National Risk Assessment published by the Ministry of the Interior points to large-scale immigration as a threat on the same level as terrorism and "violent, large-scale civil disturbances"

Finland includes massive immigration among the main "threats" to national security

Finland’s national risk assessment has been completed. The aim of this initiative is, according to a press release published by the Ministry of the Interior, "to anticipate sudden incidents targeted at Finland that call for activities deviating from the norm from the authorities or even requesting help from other countries". 

The EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism obliges all Member States to carry out a national risk assessment. Finland’s risk assessment was submitted to the European Commission in December 2018 and published in 2019.

In its introduction, the National Risk Assessment explains that, "in addition to fulfilling the obligation imposed by EU legislation, the aim in Finland is to be able to foresee sudden severe events affecting Finland. The occurrence of such events will cause significant damage affecting the lives or health of people, economy, environment and society".

Specifically, the risk assessment deals with immigration in chapter 4.4, which is titled 'Terrorism and other activities posing a threat to society'. This chapter points to large-scale immigration as a threat on the same level as terrorism and "violent, large-scale civil disturbances".

This section of the document describes a hypothetical scenario of mass arrival of foreigners, in which refugee reception centres would be overcrowded and authorities unable to carry out, through the usual legal procedures, an effective control of borders and people arriving.

The targets

According to the Finnish National Risk Assessment, the "primary target" of this threat in Finland would be "the society's psychological resilience to crisis". The document explains that in such a situation the key factor strengthening resilience is the citizen´s faith in the authorities being in control of the situation. "Should this fail, it would have significant political effects, and it can compromise public order and security".

The second most significant target, according to the Ministry of the Interior, "is the impact of large scale immigration on the public-sector economy". Finland's authorities fear that in the long term, "the pressure" would fall "particularly on the funding balance of the social security benefit system in case of failure in the integration of those granted asylum". In the shorter term, it says, "several other authorities, the education system and the judicial system each incur additional costs amounting to tens of millions euros per year". And that situation would last "for several years after the disruption", the assessment foresees.

Special agents "infiltrated" among immigrants

The National Risk assessment also predicts that "immigration may be associated with political pressure towards Finland". In this case, it considers "possible that criminals, scouts and even special forces are infiltrated to Finland among the immigrants". Their targets -always according to the scenario depicted in the document- would be "critical to vital functions, including key personnel".

Finally, the Ministry of Interior believes that large-scale immigration "can also be used as a means of exerting pressure by itself".

The "critical threshold"

The document argues that the reason for this massive entry of foreigners not only can be an acute situation caused by mass exodus. "Immigration can take place in phases, occur as a regional or local disruption in immigration in the early phase and gradually expand to the national level".

The "critical threshold" could be considered the moment when "refugee reception centres and their additional beds are about to become full and the established temporary units are about to become full or are overcrowded, the influx of immigrants is continuous and there are exceptionally far more incoming than leaving immigrants".

This scenario of large-scale immigration involves, particularly in its early stage, "the risk of not being able to organise the control, registration and reception of immigrants in a controlled manner and carrying out the residence permit procedure quickly". Besides that, "economic risk is increased if the authorities do not succeed in organising the transition to municipalities and integration measures smoothly after the permit decision, or expulsion of those who have been given negative decisions".

The additional danger of rejected people

In such a situation, the National Risk Assessment considers that "those who have received a negative decision staying at reception centres, waiting for the Administrative Court's decision on their appeal or expulsion, will increase the likelihood of disruptions, both inside the centres and in the neighbouring areas". "If repatriations cannot be realised, the risk of a strong increase in illegal residents will emerge".

The document also predicts the possibility of rise of distrust in the authorities derived from their actions. That could "weaken the citizen´s sense of security and increase instability in the society".

As a result of the hypothetical scenario described above, the Ministry of Interior acknowledges that "strong sentiments towards immigrants may emerge in the original population". Therefore, in order to counteract "the opinions of the extremes", the authorities must "provide citizens with reliable and neutral information about the phenomenon". 

If you want to read the full text of the National Risk Assessment published by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, you can download it HERE