Posts Tagged: European Union

Islamophobia is the fear that white Christian Europeans will lose power and privileges to minorities. Disagree? Ask a Muslim woman

A French appeals court upheld this week a ruling that denied an Algerian woman citizenship because she refused to shake the hand of a French official, according to The Local. The woman cited “religious beliefs” for not shaking the official’s hand. The appeals court defended the decision to not grant citizenship on the grounds that the woman, who is married to a French man since 2010, had “not assimilated into the French community.”

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Brexit proves (again) that Europe’s biggest threat was and still is nationalism and xenophobia

We speak of external threats like globalization and others like asylum seekers as threats challenging this great Post-World War 2 experiment called the European Project. While the achievements of the European Union are formidable taking into account that we’re not going after each other’s throats after 1945, there is one threat that is the greatest of them all and one we should pay more attention to: nationalism and xenophobia.

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Brexit: Stoke the fires of natonalism and you’ll get burned

After the United Kingdom decided Thursday to exit from the European Union, the question remains: why? In many respects, the answer to that question is a similar one that you hear in some European countries why such-and-such country has seen the political rise of populist anti-immigration party. Finland is a good example of the latter. The

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Death of Colombian in police custody in Finland sheds light on the desperate plight of many undocumented migrants

The tragic death* of a twenty-six-year-old Colombian should awaken us to the many dangers that some undocumented migrants face in Europe. According to the Finnish police, Sergio Camilo Becerra González, committed suicide while his parents suspect he was a victim of xenophobia, according to Caracol.  Both outcomes, death by suicide or xenophobia, are harrowing reminders

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Racism tells you over and over again: don’t bite the hand that feeds you

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts. E.B. White (1899-1985), USAmerican writer Being an immigrant and Other all my life, researching and especially writing about racism regularly, or daily for the past three-and-a-half years, have taught me a thing or two about this social ill. Some may ask why

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Marine Le Pen fails to form the far-right European Alliance for Freedom

There was great news today when we read that far-right Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders failed to form a European Parliamentary group called the European Alliance for Freedom (EAF)., reports the euobserver. After the gains that the far-right made in the Euro elections of May, Migrant Tales welcomes Le Pen’s and Wilders’ failure to form

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The PS of Finland makes its post-election debut in the European media with labels like “xenophobic,” “far right” and “MEPs with criminal records”

It has been quite a rough two weeks for the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party after the May 25 EU parliamentary elections: accusations of being far-right in the company of neo-Nazi parties like the Golden Dawn of Greece; and speculation by a senior Finnish official in the Financial Times that it was unlikely that the PS would

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The political record and chicanery of the PS of Finland is what has estranged so many voters from politics

While some are still scratching their heads about the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* joining the European parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group this week, it shows why so many voters have become estranged from politics.  Read full story here.    Before the historic 2011 parliamentary elections for the PS, when 39 of its MPs got elected

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Financial Times: Finnish and Danish MEPs “with criminal records” join Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s group

While some speculated that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and the Danish People’s Party (DPP), both with MEPs with criminal records, would be given the cold shoulder by UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group,  the opposite happened, writes the Financial Times.  The two MEPs with criminal records are PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho

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Counterpoint: How to compare European populist parties

There’s been a lot of talk as of late in the media about far-right and populist parties that were elected to the European parliament. One way to assess these parties is a chart by Counterpoint, a research group. Gathering from the chart below, European populist parties are mostly racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and sexist. Their democratic

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Migrant Tales insight on EU elections: Win some, lose some

As the political dust settles after the Euro elections last Sunday, can we claim like the media that the hard right made important gains?  How did anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* of Finland fare compared with the previous elections in 2009?  Apart from the UKIP and National Front of France’s impressive

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Financial Times: MEP Jussi Halla-aho racist track record leaves PS out in the cold

Success comes with a high political price especially if you base that success on spreading racism and prejudice. That is exactly the case of the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* who are hoping to join the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in Brussels but have been rejected by them because they see PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho as too racist,

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Disingenuous Finnish PS MEP-elect Jussi Halla-aho fears image would suffer with parties like far-right National Front

In an interview on YLE, Perussuomalaiset (PS) newly elected MEP Jussi Halla-aho said that it was doubtful that the anti-immigration party would form part of a parliamentary group with far-right parties like the National Front of France “because the party’s image would suffer.” What a disingenuous statement by a politician who has based his career

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Pew Research Center survey: Anti-immigration and anti-minority sentiment runs high before Euro elections

Pew Research Center, a Washington-based “fact tank,” reveals in a survey just before the European parliamentary elections on May 22-25 that anti-immigration and anti-minority sentiment runs  in countries like Poland, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy and Greece. Euro MEP candidates like Jussi Halla-aho and Juho Eerola of the PS have used anti-immigration sentiment to attract

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Statement: EU elections 2014: the way towards more equality in Europe, 7 demands from ENAR

The next European Parliament to be elected in May 2014 has a crucial role to play when it comes to reducing the entrenched inequalities faced by its citizens and residents. Among these are ethnic minorities and migrants who often face discrimination on multiple grounds: ethnic origin, nationality, social status, income, gender or age. The European

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Workshop highlights perceptions, problems and challenges of immigration in Greece

Workshops that debate and challenge immigration issues in economically hard-hit countries like Greece are never too many. One of these took place on Friday at the University of Peloponnese and was organized by the Scientific Association of Young Political Scientists. According to a statement: The issue of immigration has become a major national issue and

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Yes Swiss vote against “mass migration” will impact MEP elections in May

Switzerland voted on Sunday to narrowly approve a referendum proposal to stop “mass migration,” reports The Independent. The immediate impact of the referendum, which the “yes” camp won with a slim 50.3% majority, will mean an end to the free movement of people and goods between Switzerland and the EU. Apart from having an immediate

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Higher unemployment and economic woes spell big trouble for migrants and visible minorities

Finland got shocking news Thursday when postal company Itella announced that it may shed up to 1,200 jobs, according to Yle in English. Taking into account that unemployment shot up in 2013 to 7.9% from 6.9% in the previous year, what do these two news stories mean for the migrant and visible minority community? Those

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Another tragedy in Lampedusa, one too many

Clara Dublanc*           The migrant boat disaster off Lampedusa has highlighted the struggle of Southern EU members to deal with migrant flows. It is time that Europe steps up and accepts shared responsibilities for the external borders of the Union. Last Thursday 3rd October, the small Italian island of Lampedusa witnessed

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Council of Europe: No hate speech movement

This campaign, No hate Speech Movement, is long overdue and in great need. It’s a good matter that we are waking up to this menace even if politicians shamelessly play it down. The reason why hate speech exists is because we permit it. In Finland we have politicians who have been sentenced for hate speech.

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Our response to intolerance in the EU and Finland must be first and foremost a response

Every great journey challenge begins with a single step. A Chinese proverb slightly changed A study by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), reveals how racism and intolerant attitudes are becoming more prevalent in the European Union. What to do? Read ENAR study here.   A recent example of how racism and intolerance spread roots in

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Institute for Strategic Studies: Preventing and Countering Far-Right Extremism – European Cooperation

Here’s a good country-by-country report on the history and modern growth of right-wing extremism in ten European Union countries  (Sweden, UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic).   Read full report here. As Migrant Tales has correctly reported time and again, the biggest sources of right-wing extremism in Finland are the

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Common Ground News Service: Spreading “anti-rumours” about immigrants

By María-Paz López Barcelona, Spain –“They are invading us”, “They don’t respect the rules”, “They don’t pay taxes”, “They don’t want to integrate”, “They get special subsidies to open businesses”, are just a few of the often repeated accusations against immigrant communities in Spain. To deal with rising prejudices, Barcelona City Council is now beginning

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FRA: Hate crime a daily matter in the European Union

Two recent reports published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) confirm that hate crime happens daily throughout the European Union (EU). One of the reports reveals that 32% of Somalis interviewed by the agency that live in Finland reported being victims of hate crimes during the past 12 months. Other countries in

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Migrants’ Rights Network: EU Free Movement Under Threat

Stewart Jackson’s Ten Minute Rule motion to curb EU free movement rights passed the first hurdle on its way to becoming law. Let’s hope no one in government seriously considers it as official policy. Conservative MP Stewart Jackson continues his campaign against “barking mad” European Union law which supports the free movement of people across

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ENAR: Hate crime victims finally recognised with European Parliament vote

Comment: Without a doubt, this is an important piece of legislation by the European Parliament, which will require EU states to systematically collect data on hate crimes.  Even if the Finnish police collects such data, reporting hate crimes to the police may be more complicated for an immigrant than meets the eye.  The key question

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How much further? A film about the lives of refugees in Greece

This documentary about refugees in Greece is a stark reminder of how Greek authorities and the European Union have turned their backs on asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The answer is not higher border fences or fear-mongering by politicians, but finding proactive solutions that take into account the needs and human rights of these people.

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Blaming undocumented immigrants is sweeping the issue under the rug

The treatment of an ever-growing problem like undocumented immigrants in Finland by the media and politicians resembles a debate where nobody really wants to tackle the issue. Our attention too often shifts to the undocumented immigrant, who is seen as the culprit and root of the problem.  The ongoing  debate resembles discussing the reasons behind

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Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from April 20, 1993

Migrant Tales publishes on and off Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic, prejudiced, racist or anti-Russian views.

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Europe and Finland must get its immigration policy right

The rise of right-wing populist parties and their ever-growing attacks on immigrants and minorities is an outcome of Europe’s inability to draft and pass a workable immigration and refugee policy. Immigrants and refugees are not the real threat to Europe. It is weak leadership by politicians and standing up to the populist rhetoric that fuel prejudices and urban myths about Europe’s new inhabitants.

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“Living together:” Council of Europe Eminent Persons’ report

On behalf of the Council of Europe Group of Eminent Persons, Javier Solana Madariaga presented the report “Living Together:” Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe to the Committee of Ministers session meeting in Istanbul. Taking stock of the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe, the report analyses “the threat” and proposes “the response” for “living together” in open European societies.

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True Finns’ Soini lashes out at the foreign media

While True Finns’ chairman Timo Soini tries to calm Finns and the outside world that “we’re not extremists, so you can sleep safely,” an eerie lull prevails in Finland as talks begin on forming a coaltion government with Kokoomus, Social Democrats and the True Finns. Soini’s most recent outbreak was with the Swedish media, whom he branded on MTV3 as “unbelievable.”

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Finland election today: What future awaits us and Europe?

Today Finnish voters will head to the polls. What their collective message may be for the direction Finland will take in the following four years remains to be seen. One of the most tragic aspects of the campaigning to April 17 is how some, like the True Finns and individual members of all the parties in this country, have used fear-mongering of immigrants and refugees to further their political careers.

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Finland election: Flirting with isolationism and xenophobia

In our neck of the woods in the Nordic region, ultra-nationalistic and xenophobic parties have made their mark in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and most likely now in Finland on Sunday when the True Finns are expected to score a historic victory. Will the election embolden other xenophobic parties in this region and Europe? Will it send shock ripples in the EU?

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guardian.co.uk: France’s minorities under fire

The recent local elections in France witnessed not only increased pressure from the extreme right National Front (FN), but also division within the conservative party in power, the UMP, which fluctuated uncertainly between an alliance with the FN and one with the opposition parties. As for the left, it can hardly be seen as a credible alternative. The situation for minorities in France has therefore become more than difficult. It has become critical.

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Migrants’ Rights Network: Human Rights Court rules that asylum seekers cannot be sent to Greece

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last week in the case of M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece. It found that the Belgian authorities had violated the rights of asylum seeker M.S.S., and an Afghan national by sending him to Greece using the Dublin II regulation. This in effect means that asylum seekers from the UK cannot be returned to Greece under the Dublin regulation.

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Islamization and Islamophobia in Europe and Finland

There was a letter to the editor in Saturday’s Mikkeli-based Länsi-Savo about the Islamization of Europe, while Time magazine asks in its August front cover if America is Islamophobic? The two headlines, although from vastly different publications, shed in my opinion light on how some Europeans and USAmericans see Islam: a threat or over-reaction.

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A disfavor to Finland’s future

With the April 2011 election approaching, parties in Finland are feverishly searching for ways to lure voters. One campaign issue that has the ability to move voters and inflame passions are immigrants and immigration to Finland. I personally feel that Finns are not going to be led by rhetoric and false arguments.

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Fallacies of Finland’s immigration-refugee debate

If we look at the ongoing immigration-refugee debate in Finland, there are five fallacies that one should look at critically in order to understand the debate. I have compiled a list of the top five claims that I consider the most absurd and politically questionable but are used constantly in the ongoing debate:

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