The Finnish foreign minister and eurosceptic Finns Party chair Timo Soini says Finland should “significantly restrict” the “generosity” of its social benefits for refugees.
Denmark has taken the Nordic region’s toughest stance against immigrants of late. Last week its government proposed that police should be able to confiscate cash from asylum seekers in order to cover their costs. In August the country approved a cut of nearly one half in social security benefits paid to those granted asylum.
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said on Monday that Finland should follow the Danish example.
“Certainly we could significantly restrict our social security and its generosity. That’s been done in Denmark, and I haven’t noticed that it’s broken any agreements,” he told Yle in Brussels.
In fact, after Denmark almost halved social security benefits for accepted asylum seekers, the UN refugee organisation criticised the decision, saying it violated the UN’s agreement on refugees.
Nordics move to limit arrivals
Nordic foreign ministers met on Monday in Brussels on the fringes of a meeting of EU foreign ministers (three of the five Nordic countries are EU members). They shared details on how asylum seekers are being treated in each country. Soini says the neighbouring countries are trying to avoid unhealthy competition on the issue.
That seems to mean that as one country tightens its asylum policy, the others follow suit. Last week the Finnish cabinet unveiled an 80-point plan to bring its policy in line with Sweden following its new, stricter line.
“Nordic welfare model won’t last”
“It’s clear that in the long term the EU, its social model and the Nordic welfare model won’t last if this continues,” said Soini.
The eurosceptic Finns Party chair demanded that other EU states carry as much responsibility as those that have taken in the most asylum seekers per capita: Sweden, Germany, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands.
“If EU is a community of solidarity as it is advertised, then it can’t be that a few countries bear the responsibility for this. We’re starting to approach the point where we can’t take care of it anymore,” he warned.