Three candidates from the Arctic region to EU

A file photo of seats at the European Parliament in Brussels. (Yves Herman/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By Hannah Thule, The Independent Barents Observer 

Two candidates from northern Finland, and one from northern Sweden secured seats in the European Parliament for the term 2024-2029. In contrast to large parts of Europe, left-leaning parties received significant support in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The results of Sunday’s European election show that three candidates from the Arctic region have secured seats in the European Parliament, two of them being from northern Finland and one of them from northern Sweden.

One of the Finnish candidates is Sebastian Tynkkynen from Oulu, who secured the only seat in parliament for the far-right Finns Party. The party lost one of their two seats from last term.

The 35-year old Finns Party politician has been a member of the Finnish parliament since 2019, initially in opposition and now as a part of Prime Minister Orpo’s four-party coalition.

Tynkkynen is known for holding the record for the longest speech in the Finnish parliament, when he in May 2021 delivered a nearly 8.5-hour speech during a filibuster debate on the EU recovery aid package.

In the EU, Tynkkynen has expressed plans to focus particularly on immigration policy.

“Asylum seeking must be outsourced outside the EU, because otherwise the system will increasingly be used as a channel for migration,” Tynkkynen commented to Suomen Uutiset, which is supported by the Finns Party.

He also wants to move industries back to Europe from China, which he claims calls for a less strict climate policies in the EU.

Convicted for hate speech

Iltalehti reports that Tynkkynen has three recent charges and convictions for agitation against ethnic groups.

In January 2017, he was sentenced to a fine for breaching the peace of religion and agitation against an ethnic group in his Facebook posts.

In October 2019, Tynkkynen received another fine for agitation against an ethnic group after sharing racist hate speech about Muslims on Facebook.

The third conviction came in October 2021, when he was sentenced to yet another fine for the same crime. As part of his municipality election campaign in 2017, Tynkkynen posted hate speech about asylum seekers and immigrants on Facebook.

Kulmuni secures seat

Finland’s Center Party will also have northern representation in the EU.

Katri Kulmuni from Tornio also got a seat in the European Parliament, receiving most of her votes from Lapland’s electoral district. The 36-year old has been a Member of the Finnish parliament since 2015, and she was the Minister of Economic Affairs in 2019-2020 in Marin’s government.

Kulmuni said her key priority in Brussels is to simplify EU legislation related to the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. She has criticized EU’s tightening and unclear regulations around the use of natural resources, calling it a “worrying development”  which “weakens Finland’s and the whole of Europe’s international competitiveness, especially compared to the United States.” She also aims to prevent Finland from being subjected to new joint debt packages.

Northern Swede Eriksson to EU

Sweden’s only northern parliament member will be Elmer Eriksson from Umeå. Eriksson, who is 75 years old has worked with social issues at the municipal level for the past 35 years. He has a seat in Umeå’s municipal council.

Key issues for Elmer in Brussels will be to advocate for senior issues such as highlighting the problem of loneliness and to make Europe safer. He wants strengthened customs to prevent drug and goods smuggling, increased police cooperation to combat criminal syndicates operating in the EU from abroad, as well as enhanced IT security.

Nordics break right-wing trend

While the right-wing made significant progress in large parts of Europe with also far-right parties gaining seats, left-leaning and green parties prevailed in the Nordic countries.

In Sweden the Social Democrats, Greens and the Left Party saw the highest increase in votes compared to the 2019 European elections.

In Finland The Left Alliance improved its results from the elections in 2019 by more than ten percentage points, becoming the second-largest party. The Chairperson of the Left Alliance Party and Member of Parliament, Li Andersson, also received the most personal votes ever in Finnish history of the European elections.

For the far-right parties in Finland and Sweden, support fell drastically.

In Denmark the Green Left, Social Democrat party and Liberals received the most votes.

Out of the 720 seats in Parliament, Sweden has 21, and Finland and Denmark 15 each.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Former candidates call to improve elections for Indigenous voters in Quebec, CBC News

Finland: “Sámi Parliament election in Finland: 2 candidates by court ruling, The Independent Barents Observer

The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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