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Finns Party pushes no confidence vote over Greek border refugees

The opposition pressed the government for clarification of its policy on Greece's suspension of asylum applications.

 Perussuomalaisten puheenjohtaja Jussi Halla-aho eduskunnan suullisella kyselytunnilla 5. maaliskuuta.
Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho during government question time in parliament on Thursday. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

The opposition Finns Party announced Friday that it is filing a motion for a no-confidence vote in the government. The nationalist party cited a lack of clarity in the coalition's policy on preventing what it terms a new refugee crisis in the EU.

The party's parliamentary group is asking the government what actions it is taking in this respect in Finland and within the EU. In addition, the Finns Party is demanding details of how Finland is supporting Greece, which has closed its border to refugees seeking to enter from Turkey.

The Finns Party says that government statements have been contradictory and that it failed to clarify its policy during question time in Parliament on Thursday.

Other parties in opposition have been invited to join in the Finns Party interpellation which is the first step towards a vote of no-confidence.

Heated exchanges

On Thursday, opposition MPs repeatedly pressed cabinet ministers in a series of heated exchanges for an answer to whether or not Finland supports Greece's decision to temporarily suspend any new asylum applications.

In response, Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo stated that Finland supports Greece in adhering to its obligations under international law, and that Finnish officials cannot take part in any illegal actions.

"This is not solely the view of Finland's government. This is clear to every public official," Ohisalo told parliament.

"We support Greece in ensuring its external borders hold. Connected to this is the fact that international law and human rights must be observed," stated Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni, who was standing in for Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who had travelled to New York for UN observances for International Women’s Day.

The Finnish Border Guard is sending a four-guard unit to take part in a rapid border intervention operation on the Greek land border.

In addition, one individual is being forwarded to the operation's coordination center in Warsaw, Poland.

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