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Finns Party affirms "zero refugees" policy amid Afghan crisis

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra says Finland should target Afghan aid to the country's neighbouring regions.

Riikka Purra
Finns Party leader Riikka Purra spoke to Yle TV1 on Saturday. Image: Lehtikuva
Yle News

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra on Saturday said Finland should channel Afghan aid efforts to the country's neighbouring regions dealing with an influx of people fleeing the Taliban.

Speaking on Yle's Ykkösaamu talk show on Saturday, the leader of the opposition party claimed that Finnish military resources were being used to repatriate Afghans living in Finland who were visiting their former home country.

"Finnish military is also securing the return of people awarded refugee status in Finland, but then returned to Afghanistan to vacation, or whatever," she said.

Purra was, however, unable to specify how many individuals she was referring to in this statement.

On Friday, Finland said it would send troops to Kabul airport to support the activities of its evacuation team there. Finnish troops are tasked with operating at the airport in Kabul. They will not venture beyond its immediate surroundings. Finland has said it aims to evacuate 240 individuals.

Purra noted that Finnish authorities urged its citizens to leave Afghanistan weeks ago.

"I wouldn't deploy the Finnish Defence Forces to pick people up now. They should leave on their own," she said.

The party leader, however, noted that Finland should help locally hired staff at the mission in Kabul leave "if they risked their lives to serve Finland."

Purra said she would like to see humanitarian aid targeted to areas surrounding Afghanistan, and that the party does not want to see the Afghanistan crisis spark a refugee influx to Europe.

"Immigration is not the most efficient means of helping, neither from a financial nor a humanitarian standpoint," she said, adding that "Finland, the EU and the international community should focus on helping those fleeing Afghanistan to meet their basic needs in areas near Afghanistan."

"Zero refugees"

Purra has called for abolishing Finland's refugee quota. That said, the nationalist party does not support nearly doubling Finland's annual refugee quota from 1,050 to 2,000, as proposed earlier this week by Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo in light of the Afghanistan crisis.

Purra moreover criticised Finland for being poorly prepared to handle any growth in asylum cases.

Finland's current refugee quota is 1,050 people. The quota system shares out refugees among EU member states according to a calculation based on key data such as GDP, unemployment figures and national population.

This week's All Points North podcast discussed the situation in Kabul and its impact on Finnish policy.

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

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