The youth organisation of Finland’s largest right-wing party has provoked strong reactions by claiming that dark-skinned families are not welcome in the Nordic country.
Finnish Youth, the junior wing of the right-wing Finns Party has sparked outrage with its new campaign.
In the run-up to the EU election, in which the Finns Party expects major electoral gains, Finnish Youth has shared a screenshot from a European parliament ad, which shows two happy dark-skinned parents and their child.
“Vote Finns so that Finland’s future will not look like this”, Finnish Youth captioned the screenshot.
Their campaign has sparked strong reactions across the Finnish political landscape.
Lawyer and Social Democrat politician Sakari Timonen called the post “openly racist” and called for the government to halt grants to the Finns Youth.
According to Finnish law, youth organisations receiving government grants should have “solidarity, cultural diversity and internationalism” as their foundation. According to the Finnish Youth website, “no to multiculturalism” is one of the organisation’s principles.
Li Andersson, the leader of the Left Alliance, also claimed that Finns’s “racism” was “crystal clear”.
Finnish Youth president Asseri Kinnunen is running for the European Parliament election for the Finns Party. According to Kinnunen, Finnish Youth wanted to initiate a debate on the European Parliament’s “propaganda campaign”.
“We wanted to debate if it is the EU or Finland’s own decision-makers who decide over Finland’s future”, Kinnunen explained his standpoint, as quoted by the daily Hufvudstadsbladet.
By his own admission, Kinnunen wants to work for the Finnish economy, security and agriculture. He also proposes a strict immigration policy and has backed border controls.
On Twitter, the Finnish Youth’s campaign triggered mixed reactions. While some hailed Finns’ desire to “keep Finland Finnish and Europe European”, as one user put it, others found their ethnicity-based nationalism unappealing.
Wisecrackers were quick to point out that former Finnish Youth leader, Sebastian Tynkkynen, currently an MP, had a more tolerant attitude toward dark-skinned people and even has a boyfriend from Mozambique.
The Finns are a right-wing Eurosceptic party and part of the party alliance spearheaded by Italian PM Matteo Salvini. In the 2019 general election, they sensationally finished second with 17.5 percent of the vote. In Finnish and Swedish, the party is known as the True Finns, a name formerly used even in English.