Some are more equal than others in Finland | Letters

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Enrique Tessieri says social inequality, racism and discrimination are on the rise in Finland. Plus Elo Allik-Schünemann on the great moral and material help given to Estonia by Finland after the end of the Soviet Union

While Finland has achieved a lot of progress in creating a Nordic welfare state based on social equality (Letters, 16 February), we have to ask which groups are entitled to such values. With the Sami, Roma, migrants and other minorities, this is, unfortunately, not the case. As the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä scales back funds to the education system and social welfare state, we see a problem arising that has not been readily acknowledged by white Finland: social inequality, racism and discrimination. The mass deportation of Iraqis and Afghans, who came to Finland from 2015, is a sad case in point.

It wasn’t too long ago when foreigners – never mind minorities like the Sami – didn’t have equal civil rights never mind the right to speak their language at schools. It was only after EU membership in 1995 that Finland started, at least in the law, to be more open to difference and to the outside world. The parliamentary election victory of the populist anti-immigrant True Finns party in 2011 was a stark reminder that many want to turn back the clock to more harrowing times for minorities and migrants.
Enrique Tessieri
Mikkeli, Finland

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