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Finns Party returns to right-wing ECR group in EU Parliament

The party had been aligned with the nationalist and Eurosceptic Identity and Democracy (ID) group since 2019.

Jimmie Åkesson ja Riikka Purra poseeraavat vierekkäin. Etualalla kuvaajien käsiä.
Finns Party chair Riikka Purra with the leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The Finns Party has announced it will leave the nationalist Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the European Parliament and join the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

The move was first reported by the party's Suomen Uutiset newspaper, and later confirmed in a tweet by party leader Riikka Purra. The party currently has two MEPs — Laura Huhtasaari and Teuvo Hakkarainen — in the EU parliament.

The Finns Party was previously a member of the ECR group during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, before it moved to ID, which defines itself as conservative and Eurosceptic.

"The Finns Party's leadership has unanimously decided that the Finns must be part of a group in the EU Parliament whose member parties are united by the uncompromising defense of Western civilization and the European security policy architecture," Suomen Uutiset wrote.

The article added that the "radical change in Finland’s security policy" caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine led the party to "re-examine international cooperation networks".

The Finns Party was forced to play down the ID group's links with Russia and President Vladimir Putin shortly after the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine last year.

Political newspaper Politico reported that ECR vice chair Charlie Weimers said the Finns Party’s move was "another sign of a growing conservative and Putin-critical movement" within the EU Parliament.

The ECR group currently contains 64 MEPs — before the arrival of the two Finns Party members — including representatives of Poland's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party as well as the Sweden Democrats.

Tabloid Iltalehti reported that the leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, appeared at a campaign event for the Finns Party in Helsinki during the run-up to the parliamentary elections.

The ECR group was formed when the UK's Conservative Party left the European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP-ED) group in 2005, as it was opposed to European integration and considered the group to be too federalist.

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