Some political parties in Finland have moved to harden their stances on immigration in the lead up to parliamentary elections.
The immigration overhaul reflects the nationalist approach of the True Finns party, who claim their opponent parties are merely chasing votes by adopting a harder line.
The parliamentary group chairman of the True Finns, Risto Vistbacka, has criticised the tactics of fellow political parties, arguing that True Finns have long promoted the most suitable immigration policy for Finland. He branded the shifting of positions as a shameful attempt to woo mainstream voters, many of whom have voiced their concerns over immigration as domestic unemployment rises. Recent history has shown that migrants have played a key role in filling domestic labour shortages.
In a report by YLE, Mr Vistbacka said, “What was most amusing was when SDP chair Jutta Urpilainen used the phrase ’when in Rome‘, which is taken directly from the True Finns’ parliamentary election campaign of 2007.”
The National Coalition Party updated its immigration policy at the end of last year to include a more conservative approach, with an emphasis placed on family ties. “If our procedures are more open than other Nordic countries, that will direct the immigration flood to us, which would not be wise,” said working group chairman MP Arto Satonen. “The True Finns are in one corner, while the Swedish Peoples’ Party and the Green League are in the other. We are aiming for the golden mean. We need immigrants who come to work, but our asylum policy must be realistic,” he added.