Since when has a Finnish government tightened immigration policy the way Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government has? There was the last government that tightened family reunification guidelines but that’s all I can remember. Is Siplä’s government one of the most hostile towards migrants and our ever-growing culturally diverse society?
Why so much hostility?
One answer to the above question is the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party, which is a partner in government with the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP).
But to blame one party for the rise of xenophobia in Finland would be simplistic. If we look more closely we’ll find the answer right under our noses: The government is formed by three parties. Finland’s politicians, the media and public have done little to stand up against racism and defend the traditional values and beliefs of our Nordic welfare state.
In other words, our society has lacked leadership and vision. We have fallen into the right-wing populist trap: solutions are simple because the argument is black and white.
The rise of the PS, like Donald Trump in the US and other ultranationalistic leaders like Marine Le Pen are sirens telling us that our democratic system is in deep trouble.
The rise of the PS, and its participation in government with the Center Party and NCP, is a similar wake-up call that we are on a perilous path.
So what makes this government one of the most hostile in recent Finnish history towards migrants, asylum seekers, minorities and our ever-growing culturally diverse society?
Below are a few reasons why:
- The PS is a hostile party to migrants, asylum seekers, minorities and our ever-growing culturally diverse society;
- The PS is a member of the government thanks to the Center Party and NCP;
- The government sends mixed signals on racism and far-right nationalism;
- The main message of the government, as well as of other parties in Finland, is that migration and cultural diversty are bad and should be contained;
- Migration isn’t seen as an opportunity and there’s dear little political leadership that promotes cultural diversity;
- The government plans to tighten family reunification guidelines;
- The government wants to undermine Section 6 of the Constitution, which guarantees that everyone is equal before the law;
- The government handles racism and fascism with kid gloves. The rise of vigilante gangs is one sad example;
- The government speaks of asylum seekers as invaders and with disrespect;
- The government isn’t only hostile to migrants and cultural diversity but has declared war on women, the unemployed and children as part of its austerity plan.
* 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”