MPs in Finland should not seek populistic and quick fixes to issues like poverty

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Is it a coincidence that MPs of Finland’s four largest parties aim to pass anti-begging legislation in the face of ever-growing poverty in this country as a survey by YLE showed? Aren’t the four MPs, who claim the bill has the backing of 102 lawmakers, concerned that the anti-begging motion is a copy from Norway, which came into force thanks to the anti-immigration Progress Party in government?

Mass killer Anders Breivik was temporarily a member of the Progress Party before he murdered 77 people on 22/7.

The MPs, Arto Satonen of the National Coalition Party, Social Democrat Kari Rajamäki, Center Party’s Antti Rantakangas and Reijo Tossavainen of the Perussuomalaiset party, can’t be serious. It appears they are since the Euro MP elections near on May 25 and want to show how tough they and their parties are against Europe’s most oppressed minority.

Is this the best these MPs can do? Is this how they plan to eradicate the problem of a minority like the Roma by sweeping the issue under the carpet?

The other question that this new bill brings to light is why is it so important for these lawmakers? Finland isn’t being invaded by thousands of Roma panhandlers. According to the MPs that drafted the law, an estimated 300-500 came to Finland last year from countries like Romania and Bulgaria, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

So what gives? Satonen claims that a register would permit the police to determine if the panhandlers are victims of human trafficking or organized criminals. This is an odd excuse considering that the police stated in July 2013 that these Roma beggars aren’t victims of human trafficking or linked to organized crime 

The anti-begging legislation is in my opinion racist because it singles out a single group, the Roma, as the culprits.

Näyttökuva 2014-3-25 kello 18.31.44


Read full story here.

The survey by YLE interviewed 48 welfare and religious leaders as well as charity and social workers in Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa Oulu and Turku. A clear majority of them, or 42,  agreed that poverty has increased under the present government’s mandate.

In 2012, 18.3% of Tampere residents were low-income earners, while in Helsinki those receiving income subsidy rose to 65,000 in 2013 from 60,000 in 2010, reports YLE in English.

Matters are not expected to get better. Statistics Finland announced today that unemployment rose to 9.1% in February from 8.7% a year ago.

Even if dark clouds have gathered over the Finnish economy and there is every indication that poverty will grow instead of retreat for the time being, one matter is for certain: We shouldn’t succumb to populism and simple solutions and fixes to a social ill like poverty.

People like the Roma should be helped, not victimized.

  1. Yossie

    “… in the face of ever-growing poverty in this country as a survey by YLE showed?”

    Ever-growing diversity leads to ever-growing poverty?

    Don’t know why you talk about finnish poverty numbers when the beggars aren’t finns at all. (although it is nice to see you admit things are not going well and not looking to get better either. One good reason to think why we should be taking more poor and uneducated people)

    Whole begging problem in Finland has already been solved by the welfare system. Why we have beggars now is because once again, EU has failed us. Bulgaria and Romania should never had been taking as a member states in their current condition. If they had been encouraged to solve their problems before letting them join, they might had had motivation to do so. Now, it is just wishful thinking.

    Because finnish politicians cant fix matters in other countries, all that is left for them to do is try to handle the symptoms and its really good they finally do so. Beggars in streets don’t belong in here and Finland is not responsible for the failure of Romanians and Bulgarians.

  2. elmeri

    No no no!

    You judge the anti-begging motion based on the fact, that it was supported by Norway’s Progress Party, that Breivik was a temporarily a member of. Are YOU serious? Maybe you should read and critisize the motion itself.

    It seems, that you always want to have someone to blame, like in this one again.

    “…They want to show how tough they are…are sweeping under the carpet…”

    I believe, we should trust, what people are saying, unless we have some real facts to say otherwise. Have you any facts?

    “The will to improve these people’s lives in their own countries, but to give Finnish authorities and municipalities the opportunity to address the phenomenon and its negative side-effects.”


    People have different views about this motion. That is normal. There’s no need to point at fingers at anybody. Let’s discuss the matter itself.

    “The anti-begging legislation is in my opinion racist because it singles out a single group, the Roma, as the culprits.”

    No, it’s not racist. The motion doesn’t single out only roma beggars, but all beggars.