Public funding for political youth movements?
In Finland, public money is used to fund political youth organizations that parent parties have set up over the years. I have my own personal opinions on them, political parties should fund themselves, with their political messages resonating funding, not the public purse.
That said, the Finnish government is playing political football with its funding, only those who march to the tune of ”multiculturalism” is deemed eligible for public funding, those who hold opposing views to it, well they’re to be penalized until they ”get their minds right”.
On Monday the Ministry of Education and Culture found itself against a wall trying to explain why it rejected an application for additional funding filed by the Finns Party youth wing. The Ministry said that the division’s views on multiculturalism were at odds with the principles of youth legislation.
Education Minister Pia Viitanen claimed to be too busy to respond – that responsibility fell to the ministry’s permanent secretary.
“The political decision makers relied on the statements of the evaluation and grants board, and they have always done a tremendous amount of work evaluating different variables and looking at whether or not there is any rational basis for granting assistance. They then make a proposal which forms the basis for the decision,” explained permanent secretary Kari Anttila.
NCP Youth position on de-criminalising ethnic incitement overlooked
The Finns Party’s youth activists say that distributing funding on the basis of support for multiculturalism is at odds with how the financial assistance has actually been allocated to the groups.
One of the major beneficiaries of the ministerial funding pool has been the youth division of the National Coalition party, which has received close to 650,000 euros. Their Finns Party peers meanwhile have been granted a paltry 30,000 euros in comparison.
In September last year the National Coalition Party’s youth arm caused a stir when it advocated striking the crime of incitement against an ethnic group off the law books, adding that there should be “no such thing as a victimless thought crime”.
In its 2014 political manifesto, the young NCP members also called on government to immediately stop welcoming quota refugees, and eliminate the office of the Ombudsman for Minorities, which advances the status and legal protection of ethnic minorities in Finland.
The Ministry has defended the hefty allocations paid out to the NCP youth wing by pointing to the broad scope of the group.
Supreme Administrative Court to rule
The Finns Party youth wing has described the ministry’s decision to deny the group additional funding as discriminatory. They say they will appeal the decision at the Supreme Administrative Court.
The ministry has stressed that the values underlying the decision are just one factor among many weighing in the final solution and that the intention is not to snub any group’s political views.
“We should certainly look into what this is all about, because I think it’s very important that the government doesn’t dictate the activities of any organisation. That’s an essential feature of civil society,” Anttila added.