Finland must have an independent and credible capacity to maintain a good border security level. The eastern border barrier fence that is to be built is an important part of this capacity. The barrier fence will improve the effectiveness of our border control here and now. It will support the management of disruptions at the border in a significant manner. In practice, a physical barrier fence is necessary in situations where illegal entry is instrumentalised or extensive. The barrier fence will also reduce Finland's dependence on the effectiveness of Russian border control.

The pilot stage of the eastern border barrier fence

The Finnish Border Guard has commenced the construction of the eastern border barrier fence. An approximately three-kilometre-long pilot fence was built in Pelkola, Imatra. Implementation of the next stage, the so called PRIO 1 stage, has now commenced. In this stage, approximately 70 kilometres of barrier fence will be built at border crossing points and in their surrounding areas during 2024–2025. According to current plans, the fence will be built for a distance of approximately 200 kilometres along our 1,300-kilometer-long eastern border. The intention is to complete the barrier fence in 2026. Most of the fence will be located at the south-east border, which is a priority area for border control. It would not be a sensible option to build a fence that extends along the entire length of the border.

The barrier fence consists of a fence, an adjacent road, a deforested opening as well as a technical surveillance system.

The barrier fence consists of a fence, the adjacent road, a deforested opening and a technical surveillance system, and will become an important tool for border control. Not even this system is a solution to any threat on its own; it is a part of overall border control. The barrier fence will give the Finnish Border Guard more time to react and facilitates the management of disruptions in a decisive way by detecting, preventing, slowing down and guiding people's movement at the border. In addition, the road that will be built next to the fence will enable the Finnish Border Guard to react considerably faster to events on the national border. Other means of enhancing border control, such as increasing staff and technical surveillance in border regions, would be neither cheaper nor faster solutions than a barrier fence. The life cycle of the barrier fence is about 50 years, but the technical surveillance system must be renewed approximately every ten years.

The pilot stage has been an important part of the project’s progress. It has been used in testing the functionality of the solutions selected for the management and implementation of the project, the barrier fence’s level of construction costs, contact with and the payment of compensations to landowners, and the construction of the barrier fence itself. An environmental report on the entire barrier fence project was also prepared during the pilot stage. On the basis of the said report, the South-East Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment decided that the environmental impact assessment, in accordance with the Act on the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (252/2017), will not be applied to the eastern border barrier fence. The significant environmental impacts identified in the report will be considered in the barrier fence project so that the impacts can be brought to an acceptable level.

Two border guards and a border guard dog are on the road next to the barrier fence.

Construction of the pilot of the eastern border barrier fence was completed in Pelkola at the end of summer 2023. At present, experiences of its use and maintenance are gathered to be utilized in the following stages. In addition to experiences in service, the behaviour of animals at the fence is examined. Landowners have received their compensations for the pilot stage.

The target area of the Salla border crossing point was completed at the beginning of 2024. The procurement of acquisitions for the other target areas of the PRIO 1 stage has commenced. Construction of the barrier fence is planned to commence in these areas in spring 2024, after the landowners have been served with construction decisions and after the trees have been removed from the area of the barrier fence.

 

 

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