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Home NATIONALFinland ready to take 2,400 refugees stipulated by EC
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Sat, 12 Sep, 2015 12:00:00 AM
Member states should have freedom to decide its own share: PM
FTimes- STT Report, Sep 12
 
Refugees arrive in Finland. Photo Lehtikuva.
Finland is ready to accept the European Commission proposal to relocate about 2,400 asylum seekers.
 
The government parties, however, did not approve the Commission's recommendation that asylum seekers be relocated on a mandatory and permanent basis.
 
According to Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, each member state should have the freedom to decide its own share of the 120,000 asylum quota.
 
“We want solidarity and to handle own share, but we decide by ourselves our own share,” Sipilä said at a press conference on Friday.
 
The proposal received the backing of the Parliamentary Grand Committee as the coalition government remained united.
 
The European Union interior ministers are scheduled to discuss the matter on Monday.
 
The European Commission as well as Germany and France have called for a mandatory procedure in the relocation of the asylum seekers.
 
Interior Minister Petteri Orpo, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Foreign Minister Timo Soini spoke at a press conference on Finland’s position regarding taking refugees in Helsinki on Friday. Photo Lehtikuva.
Sipilä said that he held initial discussions with his colleagues from the country's point of view and that this position is well understood.
 
According to Interior Minister Petteri Orpo, there should have been an understanding of the voluntary procedure in the EU. The country is closely following the development of the positions.
 
“If we accept the mandatory relocation, we would be handing meaningful new powers to the Commission. In my view it is very justifiable that EU states first consider the voluntary basis to attain the same end result,” Orpo said.
 
The Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) leader Timo Soini, also the Foreign Minister of the country, backed the relocation of asylum seekers on a voluntary basis terming it the best way to proceed.
 
Soini emphasised that the country cannot accept a mandatory procedure. The party voted also against voluntary participation last time.
 
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