The populist anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party’s parliamentary group wants to turn back asylum seekers that are entering the country from Sweden to the northern city of Tornio, reports YLE in English. The PS are the only party in Finland making such a demand.
“It is time to recognise the facts and get to work,” Sampo Terho, who chairs the PS parliamentary group, in a statement. “We must turn back those asylum-seekers trying to enter Finland through Sweden and advise them to seek asylum in the Schengen Area country they first came to.”
Terho said that that joint immigration policy in the EU has been left floating “because the Dublin Regulation is no longer upheld in Europe”
Legal experts were quoted on YLE saying that an asylum seeker can be sent back to the first EU country if the person was registered there. Moreover, human rights and the fair treatment of refugees by EU countries like Finland should be the priority, not tight interpretations of the Dublin Regulation, according to Helsinki University European legal expert Juha Raitio.
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The statement by the PS is the latest example of how the populist party is trying to save face with voters with a getting-tough policy against asylum seekers. It shows as well how Foreign Minister Timo Soini’s party is closer to Viktor Orbán’s Hungary in refugee policy than Angela Merkel’s of Germany.
PS Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö said yesterday that he was ready to deploy the army to help guard the border against asylum seekers entering the country, according to YLE.
Contrary to countries like Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Croatia, only a few thousand asylum seekers have entered Finland.
The Finnish police will begin spot checks at the border and in the country today. The decision has prompted fears of ethnic profiling from migrants and minorities living in Finland.
* 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.