Thursday

22nd Feb 2024

Finnish MP poses with far-right extremists

Olli Immonen, an MP for the populist Finns Party in the ruling coalition, is at the centre of a media storm in Finland after a photo emerged of him posing with far-right extremists.

The photo was posted by the MP himself on Facebook late on Tuesday (16 June) and shows Immonen with individuals from the Finnish Resistance Movement at the memorial stone of nationalist Eugen Schauman.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Immonen posted the photo on his Facebook page

Schauman committed suicide in 1904 after killing the Russian governor general of Finland, which was at this time still under Russian rule.

The Resistance Movement is openly national socialist and revolutionary. It's led from Sweden by Klas Lund, who has been convicted of several crimes, including manslaughter.

In Finland members of the group have been convicted for stabbings of immigrants, assaults on political opponents, and an attack against the Pride march in Helsinki in 2012.

Immonen is the chair of the controversial group Suomen Sisu, home of the far-right fringe within the Finns Party. Teemu Lahtinen, Suomen Sisu founder and Finns Party city councilor in the municipality of Espoo is also pictured in the photo. But Immonen denied there are formal links between the two movements.

"Suomen Sisu and the Finnish Resistance Movement have not co-operated", he told Helsingin Sanomat.

In December, on the Finnish Day of Independence, Immonen openly supported a march that included numerous members of the Resistance Movement as security detail.

The march was organised by known far-right activists, who also participated in the memorial event for Schauman.

In April, after the Finnish parliamentary elections, Immonen also wrote that he wishes to see a "nationalist revolution".

For his part, Sampo Terho, the leader of the Finns Party parliamentary delegation, told Finnish paper Iltasanomat that Immonen's participation at the Schauman memorial event was purely personal.

"Immonen took part as a private person in an event that is completely unrelated to the Finns Party. He did not represent the Finns parliamentary group and as chair of the group I can’t decide who he spends his leisure time with", Terho said.

Finns party chair and foreign minister Timo Soini has refused to comment on the incident.

He told journalists to speak to Terho, who recently gave up his position as a member of the European Parliament for a place in the national legislature.

The Finns Party is one of three parties in government, after getting 17.65 percent of the vote in national elections in April.

The ruling Centre party and the National Coalition party, also in government, have not commented on the photo.

Opinion

On the Finlandisation of Europe

The Finlandisation of Europe is a very real prospect that would undermine our security and the credibility of the European project.

Analysis

Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.

EUobserved

New government in Belfast is much ado about not much

The deal to restore Northern Ireland's government — after nearly two years — is being spun as a major triumph. But not much has changed. This is an exercise in fine-tuning and political window-dressing.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

'Nightmare' 2024 sees Orbán struggle ahead of EU elections

Viktor Orbán admits that 2024 "could not have started any worse" for his government. The sex-abuse scandal that led to the resignation of the president provides an opportunity for Hungary's opposition — but their fragmentation could be a major obstacle.

Latest News

  1. Blackmailing the Global South on EU carbon border tax won't work
  2. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  3. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  4. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  5. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  6. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  7. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  8. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us