As the European Union struggles with migration, northern and eastern members are becoming increasingly wary of issues regarding migration, with politicians increasingly expressing comments seen as racist.
Finland's new speaker of parliament refused to comment on her immigration-critical blog after her election, but said that people in Muslim countries cannot "participate in society." Estonia's interior minister said on Wednesday that the country opposes quotas for migrant resettlement that would increase the number of migrants in Estonia. The country's former Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland went farther, saying that the "white race is threatened."
"There is much to be done in those countries so that people can freely say what they think and participate in society and democracy," Finnish Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela said Saturday on Finnish YLE television.
In Finland, the speaker of Parliament is the second most-powerful political office after the President.
Outburst Echoes in Estonia
Estonian politician Kristiina Ojuland, made multiple posts and comments on her Facebook page, calling for an end to Mediterranean migration. Ojuland used the word "neeger" to describe an African migrant, a term seen as increasingly socially unacceptable in Estonia.
"Stop using the word 'racist'! As a white person, I feel that the white race is threatened today!" Ojuland wrote on her Facebook, responding to comments calling her remarks racist.
Ojuland is the country's former foreign minister and leader of the non-parliamentary Party of People's Unity. Ojuland left the Estonian Centrie party, which she was a Member of European Parliament for, over accusations of vote rigging.
"Ojuland expresses views identical to those of the Conservative People's Party," Helme told Estonian news agency BNS.
Helme added that other political parties in Estonia also have views identical to his party's, although this does not mean that there will be political mergers.