THIS STORY WAS UPDATED
The European Parliament rejected Thursday a plan to step-up search and rescue operations for refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean with 290 votes narrowly defeated the motion against 288 in favor.
Needing only three votes to pass, seven of the 13 Finnish MEPs didn’t even bother to vote (Ville Niinistö, Heidi Hautala, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Silvia Modig, Elsi Katainen, Nils Torvalds and Teuvo Hakkarainen) with Petri Sarvamaa, Henna Virkkunen and Laura Huhtasaari voting against the motion.
Is it surprising that two National Coalition Party (NCP) MEPs voted like Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset MEP Hutasaari? Reading the anti-immigration rhetoric of NCP politicians like Wille Rydman reinforces a close xenophobic bond between the two parties.
Only three Finnish MEPs that voted in favor of the motion were Sirpa Pietikäinen, Eero Heinäluoma, and Mauri Pekkarinen. Bravo for them!
Despite Huhtasaari’s, Sarvamaa’s, and Virkkunen’s heartless view of migrants’ lives, what is even more surprising s that over half of the Finnish MEPs didn’t even care to vote for such a necessary motion that would have helped save lives.
So far this year, over 1,000 lives have been lost while crossing the Mediterranean. Since 1993, UNITED for Intercultural Action has documented “more than 36,570” deaths of people who died in an attempt to enter Fortress Europe.
Migrant Tales published in May a list of Finnish MEP “let them drown” candidates, who did not believe it is the EU’s obligation to save migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean.
Thursday was not only a sad day for migrants crossing the Mediterranean but a shameful one of Finland’s MEPs, especially those who voted against the motion and those who didn’t care to vote.
The Finnish media remained near-silent about the vote and did not even care to report it to their readers.
*A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.