Monday, February 08, 2016

Finland's President takes the lead

It's been obvious for a long time that the international convention on refugees needs to be reformed. Yes, there are people displaced by war who need to be resettled. But it makes sense for them to be resettled in countries with a similar standard of living and a similar culture. Otherwise you end up with millions of economic migrants claiming to be refugees and you fail to allow either the migrants or the host populations to keep their own cultures.

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, has used his address to the parliament to raise these issues:
Speaking at Finlandia Hall for the official opening of parliament ... Niinistö said that most asylum seekers were not fleeing immediate danger.
"The flow of immigration into Europe and Finland is largely a case of migration rather than a flight from immediate danger," said Niinistö, who was a lawyer before he entered politics. "All estimates predict that the flow of people will increase this year...

The solution, according to Niinistö, will have to involve some changes to established practice around the asylum process. The Geneva Conventions, upon which modern, western states base their approach to refugees, are outdated and states will need to be creative in how they apply them. Otherwise, anyone who can say the word ‘asylum’ will have the right to cross the border and enter Europe, said Niinistö.

"The international rules were drawn up and their interpretation evolved under quite different circumstances," said Niinistö...

"We have to ask ourselves whether we aim to protect Europe's values and people, and those who are truly in acute danger, or inflexibly stick to the letter of our international obligations with no regard for the consequences."

...At the moment, however, we cannot help those who are merely seeking a better life or feel that their circumstances and future are difficult in their home countries."


  1. Yle, the state owned liberal soft propaganda channel, censored over 1 minute of Niinistö's speech in the live program, exactly those parts which concerned international conventions. Later it explained that it was due to technical difficulty, but no one believes it. This is its normal way of operation. It is now not only True Finns in the government who are fed up with Yle, now Center party and liberal National Coalition party also plan reductions and changes to the role of Yle. These changes reduce Yle's influence, and political and propagandistic nature.

    1. That's interesting. We have a state run TV station here in Australia (ABC) which is also biased but maybe not to the same degree as in Finland or Germany.

    2. I found an English language story on the censoring of the President's speech here: