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Home NATIONALImmigration issue likely to matter in Keskusta-Perussuomalaiset coalition
Sat, 25 Apr, 2015 12:05:29 AM
FTimes – STT Report, April 25
Chairmen (L to R) Juha Sipilä of the Centre Party and Timo Soini of the Finns Party Parliamentary Elections attend a media reception at the Finnish Parliament Annex in Helsinki, Finland on April 19, 2015. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The question of immigration will inevitably be one the toughest issues, if the Suomen Kesksusta (Centre Party) and the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) end up negotiating the government programme.
According to Centre Party’s member of parliament Olli Rehn, the two parties have different views in terms of attitude as well as in practical solution when it comes to the immigration issue.
"These will most likely be tough areas in the government negotiations," Rehn said.
The two parties have also different views, for instance, when it comes to attracting labour force from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
The needs assessment of labour force outside the EEA, according to the Centre Party election manifesto should be scrapped, while according to the Finns Party, the measure should be maintained. To be carried out, the needs assessment must show that there is lack of similar labour available domestically.
File picture of immigrants. Photo Lehtikuva.
The issue is even tougher because the two parties have internal differences on their take on immigration. For instance, veteran Centre Party MP Mauri Pekkarinen has publicly defended the preservation of labour force needs assessment contrary to the party's electoral programme.
On the other hand, Rehn defended the reduction of labour force needs assessment. According to Rehn, the country should attract more proficient international experts.
"We understand the pressures caused by high unemployment. A solution must be found to this without causing an increase in unemployment in the country," Rehn added.
Another Centre Party MP, Mikko Savola believes that a compromise will be found on this issue as like in many others.
Savola said the Finns Party have steeper view than the Centre Party, for instance, on the reception of quota refugees, but at the same time, he noted that it is worth to look at the issue from a critical point of view.
The Finns Party believes that the refugee quota should be downsized because of the fiscal deficit. Savola is also prepared to discuss this issue.
The parties also have a different view on how they relate to multiculturalism. The Centre Party has openly discussed about the rights of immigrants to preserve their own unique cultural identity. On the other hand, the Finns Party would not lend support to the idea at least if the public coffers is involved.
Perussuomalaiset held a press conference to release a report pointing out negative aspects of immigration before the parliamentary polls. File Photo – Lehtikuva.
Organisations especially, according to the Centre Party, have a crucial role to play in the promotion of multiculturalism. The Finns Party, however, believe the diverse consultancy and researchers’ network keep the problem of immigration alive and they should be trimmed.
The coordination of positions will be hampered by the fact that the Finns Party campaign was based openly on the theme of immigration and thus, the party is under pressure to get its proposal through in the parliament.
Development aid is one area where the two parties are looking to make cuts. New Centre Party MP from Lapland, Katri Kulmuni pointed out Finland's international commitments. Kulmuni said that it is already a Nordic countries’ speciality not to contract the 0.7 percent of their gross national product (GNP) which is allocated to foreign aid. Still, Kulmuni believes foreign development aid should be trimmed and volunteers be given a bigger role to play.
Another controversy is based on the Finns Party’s proposal that immigrants living on benefits be directed to live in different parts of the country.
"There are certainly a number of areas in Finns Party election manifesto which they have to re-examine if or when we get to the actual government negotiations," said Rehn
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