The head of Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) faction in the Parliament, Martin Helme, said in an interview with tabloid Õhtuleht that his party will continue to put pressure on the government with regards to migration and didn't rule out ejecting refugees from Estonia, should EKRE win next elections.
Despite many hoping that the far-right party, which managed to win seven seats at the last Parliament election in March, will tone down its anti-immigration rhetoric after government rejected the European Commission's proposed quota of Estonia admitting over 1,000 African and Syrian refugees, it doesn't appear so.
Helme, one of the leaders of EKRE, said in the interview that the government “cannot be trusted” on accurate refugee numbers. “They first said that Estonia will adopt 150-160 people, now the number has increased to 200. But how do we know whether they will bring 100, 200 or 500 immigrants? We can already see that the number of black people on the streets of Tallinn has gone up in the last few months,” he exclaimed.
Helme told the paper that the “best remedy to avoid immigrants is to change the current government” and it's important to “act systematically and on purpose” to fight against migrants.
“Any migrant resettlement will get out of control fast and will turn into mass immigration. And why do we need even those 200 refugees? Even 200 people cost money for us, why do we want them?” he asked in response to a question whether Estonia could integrate small number of displaced persons, adding that based on the experience in Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, “5-20 family members will follow the original immigrant.”
Helme said that "solution for migrant crisis is simple – to destroy the people smuggling business."
“We have to target the human smuggling mafia just like we do with terrorist organizations – eliminate their funds and cut off banking, arrest or kill their leaders and managers. Italy must start guarding its borders again – they knew how to do it once,” he said.
He claimed that most migrants are not genuine refugees, but “illegal immigrants” and “parasites who want social welfare,” adding that should EKRE win elections, they will deport refugees from Estonia.
In the parliamentary election of 2015, EKRE secured 8.1 percent of the votes and entered the Parliament with seven seats. Its popularity in Estonia has not exceeded 10 percent.
This is not the first time that Helme has frankly expressed his opposition to immigrants. In 2013, while not an MP yet, he said that he "wants Estonia to be a white country." "Our immigration policy should have one simple rule: if you're black, go back. As simple as that. We shouldn't allow this problem to emerge in the first place," he said during a discussion on a Tallinn TV talk show about Sweden's riots and ethnic conflicts.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said in June that Estonia is likely to resettle up to 200 Mediterranean migrants within next two years. Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna said that considering Estonia "belongs to the Christian cultural sphere," he would prefer to give Syrian Christians a priority, should Estonia have an opportunity to choose whom to resettle here.
Editor: S. Tambur