Leading Finnish politician demands “zero asylum seekers”

Riikka Purra, the newly crowned leader of the Finns Party, has announced Finland should aim to accept “zero” asylums seekers.

The ongoing crisis in Afghanistan has triggered knee-jerk pledges from western governments to settle thousands of Afghan migrants with security implications taking a backseat – already, France has unwittingly transported not one but five Afghans on terror watch lists.

Speaking to Finnish television, Purra, whose party has the joint highest number of seats in the opposition, acknowledged the government should assist Afghans “if they risked their lives to serve Finland,” but drew the line there.

She objected to Finnish servicemen being flown out to join the evacuation effort. “I wouldn’t deploy the Finnish Defence Forces to pick people up now. They should leave on their own,” she said.

Her preference is to deploy aid to the region, supporting refugee camps in neighbouring countries, rather than flying people to the West, warning the Afghan crisis could trigger a migrant influx in Europe. She is also eager to tighten criteria for family members of existing migrants to receive settled status.   

Last week, Finland’s left-leaning government said it would double its intake of asylum seekers to 2000, the Scandinavian country already gets a higher share of refugees under the EU’s formula that dumps a higher number of migrants on more prosperous nations.

Earlier this month, Purra became the Finns Party’s first female leader, and quickly took a robust stance on immigration, announcing her objective of stopping asylum seekers settling in Finland altogether.

“We oppose immigration policy that’s harmful to our country,” she said in her keynote speech, asserting, a “party which isn’t willing to tighten the immigration policy cannot be in a government with the Finns Party.

“We want changes in border policy and so-called humanitarian and social immigration. Our target is zero asylum seekers, as is the case with the Danish Social Democrat-led government,” she added.

Finland’s population only numbers five and a half million people. The de facto leader of the opposition is concerned about the country’s future as it welcomes more people from overseas.

“Yes, we are concerned about changes in the population base. For example, in about 15 years, one-third of the residents in Espoo will be foreign speakers… Or in about 2053, Finns will be a minority in Espoo. I am convinced that most Finns do not like this development. It’s another matter of whether they have the courage to say so out loud.

“For demographic reasons alone, a significant reduction in immigration is essential, as newcomers will never run out.”