Finland must have an independent and credible capacity to maintain good border security. In the assessment of the Finnish Border Guard, the changed security environment has made it necessary to construct a barrier fence along part of the eastern border. Such a fence would strengthen our border control here and now. It would significantly support the management of disturbances at the border, and a physical barrier fence would in practice be necessary in situations involving instrumentalised or extensive entry into the country.

Russia implements border control of traffic moving from Russia into Finland, thus preventing attempts at illegal entry. If Russia reduces its border control, this may cause additional pressure at the Finnish end to control illegal entry. Finland cannot rely on the effectiveness of Russian border control. 

Based on our planning work, the barrier fence should be built along a distance of roughly 200 kilometres on our eastern border. Most of the fence would be located at the south-east border, which is a priority area for border surveillance. In addition, it would also be useful to build barrier fence-type structures at and near the various border crossing points along the eastern border. It is not a sensible option to build a fence that extends along the entire length of the border.

The barrier fence consists of a fence, the adjacent road, a deforested opening and a technical surveillance system. Even this system is not a solution to any threat on its own; it is a part of overall border control. By blocking, slowing down and guiding people’s movement at the border, the fence gives the Finnish Border Guard more time to respond and makes it easier to manage disturbances in an effective way. In addition, the road that would be built next to the fence would enable the 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, are neither cheaper nor faster solutions than a barrier fence.

The construction of the planned barrier fence will take 3–4 years, depending on the funding and smoothness of the construction process. The life cycle of the fence would be approximately 50 years.

The detailed plan is an official document to be kept secret in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 9 of Section 24.1 of the Publicity Act.

How is the project progressing?

The Eastern Border Barrier Fence project will begin with a pilot phase in which we will test the functionality of the solutions selected for the management and implementation of the project and construct a section of barrier fence around three kilometres long. This pilot project will be carried out without public tendering on the basis of section 22 of the Public Defence and Security Procurements Act (1531/2011).

The three kilometres long pilot fence will be built in spring 2023 at Pelkola border crossing point in Imatra. During the pilot phase, in addition to Pelkola, a barrier fence of approximately 200 metres will be built in the Immola garrison as part of the training environment of the Border and Coast Guard Academy. This will also be used as a test area for surveillance technology.

The objective is to complete the pilot during the summer of 2023.