Finns Party plus one, file no-confidence motion against government

The government is facing criticism from opposition parties over its handling of the new migrant crisis, and mixed messages on Greek border security.

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File picture of Finnish Parliament exterior / Credit: News Now Finland

The opposition Finns Party, with support from the only Movement Now Liike Nyt MP Hjallis Harkimo, have filed a motion of no confidence in the government for its handling of the refugee crisis in Greece.

The other opposition parties the National Coalition Party and the Christian Democrats did not support the measure, known as an interpellation, which has virtually no chance of passing. However those parties could file their own separate interpellations, although on paper the government has the numbers in parliament to survive.

The Finns Party’s motion calls for all EU internal borders to be closed temporarily; for the government to reject any asylum applicants who come to Finland from another EU country; and for any asylum seekers who can’t immediately be returned to be put in a location where they’re cut off from the rest of Finland.

Finns Party Parliamentary Group Chairman Ville Tavio also says it looks as if the government is increasing Finland’s attractiveness to asylum seekers, rather than reducing it.

Greece has closed its border with Turkey – which is also the European Union’s southern border – as thousands of migrants try to cross into the EU.

The government has said it stands by Greece’s right to secure its borders, but has criticised harsh measures that Greek authorities have been taking against the migrants.

Finns Party doubles down on migrant issues

Earlier on Tuesday Finns Party Chairman Jussi Halla-aho and National Coalition Party Chairman Petter Orpo held a debate in Helsinki where migrant issues were discussed.

Halla-aho commended other EU countries for being able to close their borders – not just for asylum seekers but against possible coronavirus carriers – and tried to suggest there was a de facto ‘two speed’ European Union.

“Austria belongs to the Union where it is possible to close the border and prevent Italians from crossings” he is reported saying by Suomen Uutiset, the Finns Party’s official website.

Hungary has also said it will stop accepting asylum applications during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Finland on the other hand is part of a union and treaty system that allows people crossing the border to be admitted at all times and under all circumstances and where direct flights to and from the epidemic area cannot be stopped” Halla-aho reportedly said.