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Finland's employment minister announces European Parliament candidacy

Employment Minister Jari Lindström made the announcement at a Blue Reform party meeting on Monday.

Jari Lindström eduskunnan täysistunnossa Helsingissä.
File photo of Finland's Minister of Employment Jari Lindström. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Finland's Minister of Employment Jari Lindström has announced that he is running for a seat in the European Parliament.

Lindström is also planning to run in this spring's domestic parliamentary election, which will be the first election for the relatively new Blue Reform party.

The Blue Reform has profiled itself as being sceptical on issues surrounding immigration. The party has said that it wants to work towards increasing resources for police and how such funding would be best distributed.

The party has also raised the issue of personal consumer debt and has proposed making it possible to erase people's first payment default notices after the debt is fully paid.

The Blue Reform's party chair, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sports Sampo Terho, said he is hopeful about the future.

"I am certain that we will create a parliamentary group. It is realistic to think that we will be as big as the Swedish People's Party or the Christian Democrats," Terho said. Those parties have had support of around 3-5 percent each in recent months.

The Blue Reform, part of PM Juha Sipilä's tripartite centre-right government, was established by around 20 former Finns Party members who broke off in 2017, keeping their positions in government.

However, the party has not received much support from the public.

According to Yle's most recent political party support survey, the Blue Reform had the support of 1.5 percent of voters.

Before he was elected MP on the Finns Party ticket in 2011, the now 53-year-old Lindström has previously worked at a papermill and is also a trained lab technician.

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