Asseri Kinnunen, the chairperson of the Finns Party Youth, states that the youth organisation will fight to keep its state aid. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE has suspended the disbursement of state aid granted to the Finns Party Youth, the official youth wing of the Finns Party.

The political youth organisation will, as a result, have to pay back the 57,500 euros in state aid it received earlier this year and not receive the second half of the 115,000 euros granted to it for this year, which was scheduled for payment later this year.

The Ministry of Education and Culture on Wednesday stated that the state aid was suspended on grounds that the organisation has infringed on the objectives of the youth act, which lays out the conditions for granting state aid for youth organisations. The decision is related to a photo of a black couple and newborn child tweeted last month by a member of the Finns Party Youth.

“Vote for the Finns Party to make sure this won’t be what Finland’s future will look like,” the tweet read.

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Esko Ranto, the director of youth and physical education policy at the Ministry of Education and Culture, emphasised in a press release that youth organisations receiving state aid must comply with the objectives of the youth act.

“If an organisation does not want to comply with the act, it will have to finance its operations from other sources than funding allocated for youth work,” he stated.

Also Jukka Maarianvaara, the Finnish Ombudsman for Equality, has ruled that the Finns Party Youth’s activities have blatantly violated the objective of promoting equality set forth in the youth act. The youth organisation, he said, has violated the prohibition on discrimination based on ethnicity or, at the very least, infringed on the human dignity of dark-skinned people in Finland.

Toni Saarinen, the secretary general of the Finns Party Youth, revealed that the organisation will demand that the decision to suspend and claw back state aid be overturned.

“The organisation will file a request to overturn the decision with the Ministry of Education and Culture. If the decision is not overturned, the only option will be to take the issue to court,” he stated in a press release on Wednesday.

His sentiment was echoed by Asseri Kinnunen, the chairperson of the Finns Party Youth. “We will naturally defend our state aid. This is not the first time we have had to fight to hold on to the foundation of our current scope of operations,” he declared.

The Finns Party Youth also stated it intends to continue its operations as usual.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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