Finland: Foreign Minister Stubb defends immigration and multiculturalism

Finland: Foreign Minister Stubb defends immigration and multiculturalism

See also: Finland: 59% against more immigration

"Finland needs to be international and multicultural", says Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party). In his view, Finland's current debate on immigration has taken on a negative slant.

"The point of view that is critical to immigration, the extreme part of it, dominates debate. The debate is excessively one-sided. It reeks of racism, nationalism, populism, and xenophobia. It is very unpleasant", Stubb says.

Stubb gave his interview at his own initiative. "The topic is close to my heart", Stubb says, explaining why he is commenting on a matter that does not directly pertain to his ministerial portfolio.

"I have seen few people lately who would have said that immigration would be a good thing for Finland", Stubb says.

He states unequivocally: "Granting asylum is just and humane. Helping refugees is ethically right. Work-based immigration is a tremendous asset for Finland."

According to Stubb, the problem with immigration debate in Finland is that the various nuances of immigration are not distinguished.

Stubb lists the variants; people come to Finland for work, as asylum seekers, as refugees, and as quota refugees.

He denounces as low-brow populism the linkage of asylum seekers with abuse of social welfare.

While emphasising the benefits of multiculturalism and internationalism, Stubb also feels that open debate is necessary on problems that are linked with immigration.

"There are two problems. Finnish society has attitude problems in accepting immigrants. On the other hand, the Finnish system has been poorly prepared to take asylum seekers in a situation in which their numbers have grown significantly. We need to take issue with these problems."


Source: HS (English)

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