Like cancer, fear, inaction and xenophobia cripple and destroy nations.
Finland and Europe are looking more lost than ever concerning the refugee crisis and this has been shamelessly exposed in the raw at the EU’s Malta summit. If we fail to resolve the refugee crisis as a region we will face another problem that will be many times worse: Forfeiting our noble values and freedoms for short-term ineffective quick fixes.
One of these freedoms at jeopardy is the Schengen Agreement, which allows passport free travel through 26 European states.
Since such short-term responses to the crisis, which aren’t responses at all, are doomed to failure it means that the matters will get worse before they improves. We know well what is at stake in Europe when we pander xenophobia and scapegoat groups.
According to The Guardian, there’s nothing to suggest that the “the confusion, disputes and mudslinging of the past few months” have brought the EU closer to a solution. Probably the most worrying question is that our inaction will exonerate isolationist hardliners like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
“I don’t say he [Orbán] should be entirely supported,”a senior diplomat at the Malta summit was quoted as saying in The Guardian. “But he has a point. There is some truth in what he says. Drastic, restrictive positions would have helped earlier.”
In Finland anti-immigration politicians like Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Laura Huhtasaari are stating that we should scrap our international refugee agreements and laws in order to stop refugees from coming to the country.
While some of you may not think much about what Huhtasaari posted, her party is one of the coalition partners in government of a prime minister who offered his home to refugees not too long ago.
Imagine. Here’s an MP of a government party of a country making such a claim that saw over 1.2 million of its people emigrate between 1860 and 1999 and relocated some 420,000 refugees after hostilities ended with the former Soviet Union in September 1944.
Laura Huhtasaari Raato, if we close our border it’s still ok to seek asylum. We must now decide what agreements and laws we can respect because we have reached a limit [with the number of refugees].
Raato Laaksonen Do you mean that lawmakers will decide not to respect laws?
Laura Huhtasaari If laws and agreements bring considerable harm and turn against us we have to review whether we plan respect them.
The greatest threat facing Europe today is its incapacity to resolve the refugee crisis regionally. It will lead to botched up decisions that will in return lead to borders marked by razorwire instead of our compassion and respect for the most basic human rights.
What happens to a country and region when it turns its back on its most important rights, like the right for people fleeing war to seek asylum?
That, I believe, is the first or second step in the path towards an autocratic Europe that will water down drop by drop its most cherished freedoms and values.
Europe must avoid such a ruinous path at all costs.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.