Foreign trade and development mininster, Paavo Väyrynen (Center Party), who served as foreign minister during 1977-1993 under President Urho Kekkonen (1956-82) and Mauno Koivsto (1982-94), Finland’s last cold war president, supported in Ilta-Sanomat Eero Heinäluoma’s stance on immigration.
The Social Democrat MP was quoted in Saturday’s HBL as stating that Finland should not encourage labor immigrants from coming to Finland because of high unemployment. He even incredulously suggested that immigrants would be responsible for inciting racism because they would take jobs from Finns.
Väyrynen, who is vying for the party chair in June, took distance from his rivals Mauri Pekkarinen, Mari Kiviniemi and Timo Kaunisto, who denounced Heinäluoma’s statements as being populist.
“In a situation where we have high unemployment, we have to restrain foreign labor (from coming to Finland). I don’t think his statement were disagreeable or populist,” Väyrynen was quoted as saying in Ilta-Sanomat.
Despite Väyrynen’s long political career, here is a politician who was responsible for the country’s foreign policy during 1977-94, when Finland had little respect for human rights never mind immigrants and returned Soviet refugees back to the USSR. Väyrynen was one of the architects of our cold war policy with Moscow. During that period foreign investment to Finland was miniscule and our immigrant population numbered a few thousand in the 1970s.
So it is nothing unusual that he “understands” Heinäluoma’s “concern.”