MIPEX Blog: European Commission asks, When is a family not a family?

by , under Enrique

Comment: Plans to tighten family reunification laws in Finland even further speak volumes about Conservative Party Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s government.  What does it say? Fear of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, prejudice and lack of leadership to name a few.

It seems surreal but not abnormal during these times in Finland that a pro-family party like the Christian Democrats will spearhead the tightening of family reunification laws. Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen washes her hands of the whole issue by stating that this is not her wish but that of the government’s.  They claim that they want to bring such laws in line with other Nordic countries. 

According to MIPEX, Nordic policy is mixed on family reunification: Denmark has the strictest policy and Sweden is “slightly favorable,” with Norway and Finland being “halfway favorable.” 

MIPEX writes: “The average EU country goes beyond the minimum definition of the family in the Directive. Most adopt slightly inclusive definitions of the family and only basic conditions for acquisition, out of respect for family life. In contrast, countries like Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, and France restrict the eligibility of family members and impose burdensome conditions on sponsors.”

If we look at the chart in the story below on reuniting non-EU family members other than spouses, partners, or children, we’re speaking of small numbers in the Nordic region: Sweden (229), Finland (197) and Denmark (0). Most family reunifications took place in 2010 in Italy (22,355), Portugal (10,038) and Spain (1,666). 

So what is the issue? The issue is fear of the threat of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, prejudice and lack of leadership iced with lame excuses. 

How can you grant a minor asylum but take away his or her right to be with his immediate family?

Where is our sense of justice and fairness?  


By Thomas Huddleston

Does the EU Family Reunion Directive reflect how you would define a family? MPG’s analysis of MIPEX and Eurostat statistics reveals that immigrant’s parents, grandparents, and adult children are somehow entitled to reunite in most countries, but few can or do apply.

Read whole story.

  1. Martin-Éric

    What I find problematic about the Finnish definition of family is that it sets a double-standard:

    EU nationals relocating to Finland are allowed to bring their elderies and adult children, just as long as they were already living together as a family prior to relocating.

    Meanwhile, third-country nationals and Finns can only bring their minor children and spouse.

    The idiocy of this double-standard reaches an absurd level once we take into account the two different ways Finns get treated by the Immigration bureaucracy: according to the strict definition (parents and minor children) when registered as living here and bringing their foreign spouse to live in Finland, or according to the EU definition (everyone reputed as living together at the time of relocation) if repatriating from another country. One consequence of this is that whenever a foreigner acquires Finnish citizenship, they cannot bring their elderly parents or adult children from a previous marriage to live with them, even when they have a generously paid job that would cover for their living. However, whenever they relocate to another EU country, they can do it under the family reunification clause. The loophole in this procedure is obvious: should someone who recently acquired Finnish citizenship want to bring their elderly parents or adult children to Finland, all they have to do is to accept a job in another EU country, request family reunification, then move back to Finland as an already re-united family.