Country Position Paper: "Suomi / Finland"
Policy towards asylum seekers has been a controversial topic for more than two decades. Rising numbers of asylum applications have been met with ever-tougher policies to manage them. Following a period of policy harmonization, the EU has reached a crucial stage in the development of a new Common European Asylum System. This paper wants to point out the position of the finish population and its government to that topic.
The finish government wants to protect refugees and asylum seekers and also wants to help the EU to get more closely together to manage the asylum procedure in a more efficient way, but the finish government doesn't want to disadvantage its proper inhabitants.
Finland's neighbouring countries are Norway, Sweden and Russia. Therefore there are many asylum seekers from Russia, but also from many other countries located far away. The total number of asylum applicants in 2013 was 3,238. Most of the people come from Iraq (819 people) and further asylum seekers come from countries as Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Iran and Syria.1
The current Dublin III convention protects the asylum seekers and additionally supports and leads the EU countries to organize the asylum procedure in an efficient and good way. Concerning the theme of the Common European Asylum System and the Dublin convention Finland is proud to deal with the asylum procedure very well.
The new intended convention Dublin IV would change the situation in this procedure for each EU member state and would also change the conditions for the asylum seekers. If the changes are efficient or more interfere in the procedures only can be guessed until the Dublin IV convention is implement in all member states of the EU, but the tendency is that the changes will interfere in the system and will make the procedures more complicated for each member state.
In the last decades the number of asylum seekers in Finland in 1989 with 200 to the year of 2000 increased continuously to over 3,200.2 Today, as mentioned above, the amount of asylum seekers is over 3,200. Finland took action so that "in 2013, 4,055 asylum seekers received a decision on their asylum application. 1,827 of them, 1,200 men and 627 women, received a positive decision on were either granted asylum or issued with a residence permit. 1,390 men and 513 women received a negative decision on their application."3 "The reason why some applications are rejected is that the asylum seekers come from a save country of origin or because of the Dublin convention"4
Consequently Finland's population and its government appeal the EU to respect the national necessities and to bring out the best for the EU, because if the European Union isn't able to cope with the flood of refugees and asylum seekers that may start after the changes with Dublin IV, the member states can't even manage the asylum procedure for those who already arrived to current time at European territory.
Further the finish government would like to keep its living standard, which is one of the highest in the world. This is not egoistically decided because only this way Finland can still bring economic strength, political stability and financial aid to the European Union. To ensure this situation we are happy to welcome some refugees and asylum seekers in the finish society who bring a variety of different skills and abilities with them from their home countries and cultures that enrich finish economy, polity and finally enrich the whole European Union.
As next point the Finns want to keep the burden sharing alive in the way that it already exists. The EU member states support each other to find the appropriate solution for the case of special streaming of refugees and asylum seekers to deal with. But to share the burden in an equal financial aspect the costs will bring several states to struggle with the additional burden.
"Today the difference between Finns and foreigners seems relatively clear."5 So it is very difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to integrate to such a highly modernized economy and society. But the finish government and the finish population don't agree with a solution that will bring its economy and prosperity down, like mentioned before, to protect the European Union's stability and welfare.
To argue with facts: The population growth in Finland is about 0.5% (27,000 people). If the asylum seekers (which were granted asylum) are added we come to sum of nearly 29,000 people of which the population on finish territory grow each year. Known that two-thirds of finish territory is covered by forest this amount of enlargement is high. And much more asylum seekers Finland can't handle while keeping its prosperity to stabilize the economy and community of the European Union.
Finland also would like to point out that it is ready to discuss about the topic of the Common European Asylum System and the changes in convention of Dublin III, so the new Dublin IV. To cope with the current situation in the asylum policy all member states should come to a common denominator and should be flexible in their position of protecting their own country. The main reason why we have such a policy for refugees and asylum seekers is that we are willing to help people in need who are fleeing from danger or persecution. Europe should be a safe haven for people searching for security and human rights protection.
Please keep in mind that the overall population of Europe is concerned by the future decisions on the topic of the Common European Asylum System. The finish government has thought a long time and intensively about its statement and position and is convinced that the Union as its community for prosperity and security will find the appropriate solution.
1 The Finnish Immigration Service: For the media. Statistics. Asylum applicants. Total figures by nationality. 2013. http://www.migri.fi/about_us/statistics/statistics_on_asylum_and_refugees. (Status: 23ᵗʱ of July 2014).
2 World Institute for Development Economics Research; Matthew J. Gibney and Randall Hansen (2003): Asylum Policy in the West: Past Trends, Future Possibilities, S. 3.
3 The Finnish Immigration Service: For the media. Statistics. Statistics on asylum and refugees. http://www.migri.fi/about_us/statistics/statistics_on_asylum_and_refugees. (Status: 23ᵗʱ of July 2014).
4 The Finnish Immigration Service: For the media. Statistics. Asylum applicants. Total figures by nationality.
5 The Finnish Immigration Service: About us. History of immigration. 200 years ago - the roots of Finnish citizenship. http://www.migri.fi/about_us/history_of_immigration/200_years_ago_the_roots_of_finnish_citizenship. (Status: 23ᵗʱ of July 2014).