Finland afraid to introduce visa-free travel regime with Russia

A rapid introduction of a visa-free regime with Russia would represent a serious threat to Finnish security, according to Finnish Interior Minister Kari Rajamaki. 'It is very important that we don't rush to implement a visa-free regime, because the prerequisites for this do not exist,' he said in an interview with the Aamulehti newspaper.

Rajamaki, who represents the Social-Democratic Party in the Finnish parliament, believes that there is a huge number of illegal immigrants in Russia. 'There are different estimates, but I would dare to suggest that the number is over 1 million,' the Interior Minister said. Rajamaki said there are two main problems with Russia's border control system. He believes that it is easy to forge Russian passports and documents, and that there are serious problems with Russia's border controls in the Caucasus.

The introduction of a visa-free regime was discussed at the EU-Russia summit on Saturday. Finnish President Tarja Halonen said yesterday in Sweden that it would be a very long process. However, she believes that Russia's desire to introduce a visa-free regime with the EU is a positive step, because it shows that Russia is serious about the requirements set out by the EU in connection with this goal.

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