Halla-aho: State’s decision to deny Finns Party youth wing funding 'unreasonable'

The Finns Party chair said the state’s decision to recover funding from the party's youth wing was an attempt to abolish it.

Finns Party chair Jussi Halla-aho. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Jussi Halla-aho said the decision by the Ministry of Education and Culture this week to terminate government funding for the Finns Party's youth wing over an offensive tweet would be the chapter's death knell.

“My view is that cancelling and recovering funding is an unreasonable action over one silly tweet. There’s reason to appeal the decision – and if needed – take it to court,” the chair of the populist party posted on Facebook.

The youth wing was to receive a total of 115,000 euros, and the ministry will now recover the 57,500 euros that it already paid. The Ministry of Education and Culture terminated this year's government funding of the Finns Party's youth wing for violating the objectives of the Youth Act.

Halla-aho: Decision was political

“This decision will in effect end the youth wing’s activities and bankrupt the organisation. It’s clear that the youth chapter can’t pay back the 57,000 euros it has already received,” Halla-aho explained.

The youth wing of the populist party had come under fire for a racist tweet they posted and later deleted from their official account — it depicted a dark-skinned family accompanied by the text, "Vote for the Finns Party if you don’t want Finland’s future to look like this."

The Finns Party chair said the ministry’s decision was politically motivated and that withdrawing funding was a tool to limit political opponents, though he also acknowledged that the youth wing had brought the situation on itself.

Earlier this month, Finland's Non-Discrimination Ombudsman (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Kirsi Pimiä, stated that the youth wing was suspected of unlawful ethnic harassment. Helsinki police also launched a preliminary investigation into the matter of the tweet, which the youth wing deleted, calling it "ill-advised" and "thoughtless" after facing a backlash.

Jussi Halla-aho and a number of other politicians from the party have been convicted of online hate speech over the years.