Democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights; these are the common fundamental values of the European Union. In order to be able to speak credibly for these values in the future, the Union must also commit to defend and uphold them as part of its own policies. Promoting these values will strengthen the unity, acceptability and credibility of the Union and the trust between Member States.
Nowadays free speech is enshrined in international declarations and national constitution. It is the right of those who live in democratic societies and the aspiration of those who do not have this privilege. In a free society, everyone should have the courage and freedom to share their deeply held beliefs without fear of censorship or suppression. The rise of “cancel culture”, the idea of publicly defaming and thrusting a person who holds certain beliefs out of social media or professional circles, is a threat to a free society that claims to be tolerant and equal.
How much outwards can you move your walls before your roof collapses? Should the driving force of a party be an ideal, a shared group of values, or is it primarily a tool for executing power, whatever the cost?
No, there has to be a shared view of society, of humanity. There has to be a shared set of values.
Once again, the structures and the principles of the European Union are being forcefully reshaped. Like in the previous times, also this time the reshaping is a consequence of a major crisis. Just in a period of less than 15 years we have faced global financial crisis, European debt crisis and now a crisis caused by Covid-19. It is therefore not a surprise that also this time deeper integration between the member states is presented as a cure.
Home care services are wrestling with deep problems. The population is aging, and the number of home care customers is increasing. Approximately 200 000 individuals received home care in Finland in 2019. The condition of elderly people in home care is getting worse and many are not able to manage their daily chores without outside help. Due to COVID-19, seniors have been asked to isolate themselves in their homes without being able to get as much help from their close ones as they would in a world without the pandemic.
Finland is quickly approaching municipality elections. As we know, these elections will be very different from previous ones, because of the Covid19 epidemic. This means that the traditional ways of campaigning in market squares and meeting voters face to face is limited. Politicians need to find other ways of reaching potential voters. The Finns Party is the most active party in both traditional campaigning and in social media.
Last April I implemented the only election promise which I had given in the last parliamentary elections. In spring 2019 I promised my daughters, that if I were elected to the Parliament, I would take them to the Harry Potter studio in London. I had given up on this a year ago. In those few moments when we had spent common time with my daughters, we had listened to Harry Potter – audiobooks.
In European financial politics, the most important topic right now is the EU's 750 billion "recovery fund". In carefully crafted rhetorical speeches the fund is justified by the ongoing coronavirus situation, but the virus is actually being utilized as an excuse to distribute 390 billion euros as grants and 360 billion as loans. The conditions for getting money from the fund have rather little to do with the epidemic itself.
6th of November 2020 was a remarkable day in the Finnish democracy. On that Friday, the Parliament of Finland agreed on that female genital mutilation (FGM) should be more accurately criminalized in the Finnish legislation. The debate and voting were based on a citizens’ initiative with over 61 000 signatures demanding a separate piece of legislation that would clearly prohibit FGMs.
In times of hardship, traditions are perhaps more valuable than ever. They offer us a sense of safety, normality and continuity, a solid rock to cling to. They bring a flicker of hope, joy and light when the world we used to know seems to be in a distressed state.
Tourism is one of the worst affected industries by the pandemic. The flow of travellers has practically stopped and numerous entrepreneurs and employees are facing unprecedented financial challenges or even collapse. The travel industry employs some 140,000 people in Finland of which more than a third in the Uusimaa region.