President Sauli Niinistö says he is worried that European countries will become engaged in a race to impose increasingly tight restrictions on asylum seekers.


Sauli Niinistö


In an Yle TV interview Wednesday evening, President Niinistö pointed out that Norway, which has seen a significant influx of asylum seekers entering from Russia, is toughening legislation while both Sweden and Denmark have introduced similar measures affecting refugees.


“Finland cannot but take note of this,” he said.


The President expressed concern that since the EU has not been able to formulate a common response, national reactions are beginning to be seen. Unfortunately, this could lead to a situation in which countries are in something like a race to tighter rules, after seeing what neighbours are doing.


“Is it possible not to do the same?” Niinistö asked.


Growing concern


According to President Niinistö the concerns and fears aroused by the terrorist attacks in Paris have become almost the main topic in his talks with members of the public. This, he said is understandable.


Niinistö told Yle that while the Finnish people have no reason to fear, there is good reason for concern.


“The Finns are completely safe, but there needs to be preparedness,” he said.