Tuesday. 25.06.2024

Government canceled the 115,000 euros grant to the True Finns' youth association

The reason is a picture of a dark-skinned family published in its Twitter account during the EU elections, accompanied by a call to vote for the True Finns party "so that Finland's future will not look like this".

Finnish-Government-plennary-session-by-Kosti-Keistinen-valtioneuvoston-kanslia
The Government's plenary session celebrated on 19 June. Photo: Kosti Keistinen/Valtioneuvosto.

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has decided to discontinue the payment of the 2019 grant to the youth association of the far-right party True Finns (Perussuomalaiset), and to recover the contribution already paid.

The decision was announced today by the Government on a press release and via Twitter. The reason for canceling the grant is that the Ministry considers that the activities of this organization (PS-nuoret) violate the objectives of the Youth Act.

According to the information published by the Government, the grant for 2019 was 115,000 euros, of which 57,500 euros have already been paid. Now, the beneficiaries will have to return it.

The reason for this cancellation has to be found in a picture of a dark-skinned family published by the organization PS-Youth in its official Twitter account during the last elections to the European Parliament. The image was accompanied by a call to vote for the True Finns party "so that Finland's future will not look like this".

Promote equality, solidarity and cultural diversity

The Government has justified its decision by explaining that any youth organization, to be assisted, must fulfill the objectives of the Youth Act. And the aim of the youth act is, among other things, "to promote equality for young people and the realization of rights. According to the law, the starting point for the implementation of the objective is, for example, solidarity, cultural diversity and internationality".

According to Esko Rannon, Director General of the Ministry of Youth and Sport Policy, “youth organizations wishing to receive a grant from the Ministry must comply with the Youth Act. If the law does not want to be complied with, the organization has to finance its activities from other sources".

Statement by the Ombudsman

Before making a decision, the Government of Finland has also listened to the Ombudsman. In his statement to the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ombudsman for Equality also considers that the activities of the PS-Youth are "in clear contradiction" with the objective of promoting equality of young people.

The Ombudsman believes that the activities of the organization can be interpreted as violating the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin. The high representative believes that with this attitudes the organization of the True Finns "create a hostile, degrading and humiliating atmosphere" for dark-skinned people.

"These subsidies belong to us"

According to the information published by the Finnish public news service (Yle), the president of the PS-Youth, Asseri Kinnunen, has said that the organization intends to take this decision to court.

"In the past years, the Ministry of Education and Culture has been looking for ways to withdraw our funding, and we have had a right against the OKM. We are going to defend that these subsidies belong to us. We still look with the government on how we proceed", he declared.

Ville Tavio, chairman of the Finnish Parliamentary Group for Finns, commented on Twitter that "such arbitrariness and discrimination against the youth organisation of the largest opposition party are completely unacceptable in the form of democracy and the rule of law"

Government canceled the 115,000 euros grant to the True Finns' youth association