Finns Party MP Jussi Halla-aho has been selected as a vice member of the Finnish delegation to the Council of Europe. Parliament approved the appointment on Thursday.
Halla-aho’s bid to represent Finland at the Council has been controversial, as he has in the past been convicted of inciting ethnic hatred and breaching the sanctity of religion.
Parliamentary group leaders expressed dismay over Halla-aho’s appointment in a joint statement:
“We find it regrettable that the Finns Party named as their representative a MP convicted of breaching the sanctity of religion and for inciting ethnic hatred. Despite repeated appeals, the Finns Party did not want to change their candidate for delegation vice member.”
The statement was signed by Petteri Orpo (NCP), Jouni Backman (SDP), Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), Annika Lapintie (Left), Oras Tynkkynen (Greens), Mikaela Nylander (Swed), and Peter Östman (Chr Dem).
The leaders noted that members of the delegation are obliged to commit to Council of Europe principles and objectives.
“We require that all Finnish delegates fulfil these criteria and work accordingly”, the statement read.