Finnish PM Juha Sipila Offers His Home To Refugees To Do His Part

Justin Streight

Amid the growing refugee crisis in Europe, one lucky family or group will be able to stay in the home of Juha Sipila, Finland's millionaire Prime Minister. The political leader announced he would open his house following wide-spread criticism of Sipila's plan to accept large amounts of immigrants.

The Prime Minsiter reportedly told the public broadcaster YLE that its up to each person to help out.

"We should all look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we can help… My house is not being used much at the moment. My family lives in Sipoo [east of Helsinki] and the prime minister's residence is located in Kesaranta."

Some Finnish voters were not particularly thrilled about the idea of mass immigration. Finland is currently facing a recession and the unemployment rate stands at about 9.4 percent.

The Prime Minister still wants his country to set an example for the rest of Europe, so he's starting by setting that example himself.

Lawmaker Maija Karjalainen from the conservative anti-immigration Finns Party explained to Al Jazeera that the leader's move was positive, but not realistic.

"It is a move to be an example for others in helping refugees, but we should not forget that the prime minister is in a unique position, having a house available for this purpose. Not all Finns have the space, finances or the capacity to do the same."

The Finnish government believes there will be roughly 30,000 asylum seekers in 2015, up from 4,000 last year. As a result, refugee facilities are already being overrun.

Karjalainen explained that 30,000 is a lot for the sparsely populated Nordic country.

"Finland should do whatever is possible within the EU scope to help migrants coming to Europe. However, 30,000 is a crazy number for hosting asylum seekers as Finland is dealing with its own economic issues."

[Image Credit: Santeri Viinamäki/Wikimedia Commonsj]