Finland, following the Baltic countries, bans the entry of cars with Russian license plates. Estonia proposes to confiscate cars that are already in the country

15:40, 15 September 2023Source: 

On September 8, the European Commission issued clarifications on how EU countries should apply the ban on the import of sanctioned goods from Russia, including cars, personal clothing and hygiene items. She later clarified that customs authorities should focus on imported cars, while other items, including clothing, should be subject to a “proportionate and reasonable” ban. Here’s what we know about how Russia’s neighboring countries will implement these recommendations.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have banned cars with Russian state license plates from entering the country. The head of the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), expressed the opinion that cars with Russian license plates should not be driven in Estonia at all, so they should either be confiscated or re-registered. This initiative was not supportedin the Conservative Party of Estonia (EKRE). Party chairman Martin Helme said that “the problem is not that some people here drive old Zhiguli cars with Russian registration, the problem is that trade continues across the eastern border, people drive through it and pass through.” The chairman of the Center Party faction, Tanel Kiik, said that first we need to find out whether these cars belong to residents of Estonia or residents of Russia.” 

The Latvian authorities have stated that they will not confiscate cars with Russian license plates that are already on the territory of the European Union. In addition, goods that are necessary for personal use, in particular hygiene products, cosmetics, clothing and phones, will not be confiscated from Russians when crossing the border. The Latvian tax service said that the import of personal items may be prohibited if they are imported in large quantities and when there is a suspicion that this is being done for a commercial purpose. 

Finland was not going to ban the entry of Russian cars, but then changed its mind. On September 12, the country’s Foreign Ministry said that they would not implement the EU’s recommendation to ban entry or confiscate cars registered in the Russian Federation. However, already on September 15, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elina Valtonen , announced that from midnight a ban would be introduced on the entry into the country of cars with Russian registration plates. An exception will be made for EU citizens permanently residing in Russia, as well as members of their families. 

According to the minister, cars with Russian license plates that are already in Finland will have to leave the country within six months, until March 16, 2024.

Representatives of the Russian opposition spoke out against the ban on the entry of cars with Russian license plates. The Anti-Corruption Foundation appealed to the authorities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with a request to reconsider the decision to ban. The corresponding letters were published by the chairman of the board of directors of FBK, Maria Pevchikh. According to FBK, the restrictions introduced harm opponents of the Russian authorities, who are forced to leave Russia. In addition, FBK believes that these restrictions discredit the very idea of ​​sanctions.

In addition to the FBK, politicians Lyubov Sobol  and  Maxim Katz , as well as the Anti-War Committee of Russia (among its members are Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Sergei Guriev, Sergei Aleksashenko and others), called on the European authorities to reconsider the recently introduced restrictions  .

(C)MEDUZA 2023


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