Finland is suffering from a crisis that hinges on isolationism, nationalism, and fear of the outside world. In many respects, Finland is an island in Europe. Every time its geopolitical status is threatened, it sends jitters up the country’s spine like today.
Finland is doing everything possible to keep matters as they’ve been. The fact that our political leaders believe that somehow we can retreat into a shell and let others EU countries carry the burden of the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers coming to Europe is wishful and isolationist, to say the least.
In an A-studio talk show Wednesday with Center Party MP Antti Kaikkonen, both the MP and the host, Susanne Päivärinta, talk about how the Russian border “leaked.”
Finland signed an agreement with Russia that only allows for a few months only Russian and Belarus citizens to cross the northern Finnish-Russian border. The agreement will ensure that no asylum seekers will “leak” for the time being through the border as Kaikkonen and Päiväranta claim.
What Finland literally did with its agreement with Russia is temporarily outsource asylum seekers to that country in the same way that the EU did with Turkey. The language that politicians and journalists use to describe asylum seekers is shameful but those are the sour fruits of xenophobia.
Despite attempts to keep people fleeing war out of Finland and the EU, nobody knows how many of them will try to make the journey to Europe this year through other routes.
Another example of how Finland is trying its hardest to be an island is a new law that was passed by parliament Wednesday that puts an end to residence permits on humanitarian grounds.
Last year, Finland granted only 119 residence permits on humanitarian grounds.
Read full story (in Finnish) here.
The fact that Finland wants to continue being an island and tighten its immigration policy shows the illness that has hit the country.
But what can you expect when you have the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and a right-wing government that bows to fear, greed and turns its back on people fleeing strife?
Finland cannot be an island in Europe forever. Instead of being reactive it should be proactive and show leadership in Europe on how to find regional solutions to the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers coming to this part of the world.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”