Migration is undeniably the most crucial issue in Europe. Recently, the political focus has been on the battle against COVID-19, but the long-term challenge remains the same: migration in the 21st century.
Problems used to be pejoratively dismissed as prejudices, but are now discussed openly in the streets, parliaments, and academia. The only ones still clinging to the politically correct past are the so-called “anointed”, as Thomas Sowell calls them, whose dogmatic worldview is immune to all evidence.
I have been an immigrant three times in my life: to Sweden, Estonia and Portugal, so I speak both from experience and from what the data show. In the 1980s, I first noticed problems while living in Gothenburg. It was clear that many migrants from developing countries did not wish to integrate, but instead built mosques in the Scandinavian suburbs.
Studies show that the native population began to move away. The areas began to separate from Swedish culture and way of life. Today, they have become so segregated that some call them “no go -zones”, because of the high level of crime and unrest. The cost is staggering.
One reason why so many migrants seek asylum in Scandinavia is the wonderful welfare state that we have built for our citizens. Without this incentive, migration numbers would be similar to those in Eastern Europe, i.e. practically non-existent. This I witnessed first hand while living in Estonia, where every migrant provides for themselves by working.
How then should we manage sustainable migration?
The main incentive must be employment and the migrants must be employable. Refuse this – and you dismantle any welfare state. On top of that, you diminish social capital, trust and cohesion.
There is no room in Finland for parallel societies where the laws of the land and its way of life are not respected. We seek to improve equality and our Western values – not send them backwards. For example, Finland is not an Islamic country – just to state the obvious – and Finns do not have to change their way of life. It is the other way round.
In recent years it has become very trendy to reduce everything to racism. The word is redefined beyond recognition and used mostly as a tool to silence critics. My message is: do not be intimidated. The world does not end just because someone calls you a bad name, so let me be clear: it is not racism to oppose segregation, to criticize the price of migration policies and to protect one’s national home and heritage. It is only reasonable. And it is the only sustainable way.
The nation-state is the best and the only tried and tested way to organize a free, democratic society that is able to sustain a welfare state. It is our duty as citizens to protect it. And when we move to another country, we should respect its values. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” And when in Finland, have a beer together in the sauna.
This article was written for MP Talk, a regular column from the Helsinki Times in which Members of The Finnish Parliament contribute their thoughts and opinions. All opinions voiced are entirely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Helsinki Times.
The articles will be published in order of arrival.