PM Sipilä pledges Oulu home to refugees | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who says Finns should open their homes to asylum-seekers.Image: Yle

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä has promised to accommodate asylum-seekers coming to Finland in his little-used home in Kempele, near Oulu, saying he wants to encourage all Finns to help with the refugee crisis.

Sipilä travels to Oulu today Saturday to discuss the lack of crisis accommodations there and to finalise the handing over of his Kempele home to house refugees. The Prime Minister has also appealed to churches and volunteer organisations to help with the growing need for accommodations.

Sipilä cites a "lack of solidarity" as a Europe-wide problem in sharing the responsibility of aiding asylum-seekers fleeing from crisis zones.

"I hope this becomes some kind of people's movement that will inspire many to shoulder part of the burden in this refugee housing crisis," Sipilä says. "What we need now is a show of compassion."

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Finland’s current government is considering several different options in its search to implement large-scale savings. The overarching goal is to improve Finland’s global competitiveness without causing an increase to employer costs. The nation’s leading daily, Helsingin Sanomat, reports on Saturday that the coalition is seriously mulling the prospect of shortening the holiday entitlements of state workers, among other options.

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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s offer to volunteer his family home in northwest Finland to temporarily house asylum seekers has gained considerable attention in international media outlets. His pledge, made Saturday morning on Finnish television, was front page news in Sweden and Norway.

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Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop Kari Mäkinen said on Saturday's Yle morning show that turning away asylum-seekers based on religion or nationality is "irresponsible". Mäkinen said that Finland should take on more refugees than the minimum mandated share, using church camping facilities as housing.

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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says he is prepared to open his little-used house to asylum-seekers in need of accommodation. In Oulu, as elsewhere, housing for refugees is spread thin.

http://yle.fi/uutiset/pm_sipila_pledges_oulu_home_to_refugees/8282824