Three candidates from the Arctic region to EU

By Hannah Thule, The Independent Barents Observer - June 11, 2024
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Northerners Jonas Sjöstedt, Sebastian Tynkkynen and Katri Kulmuni secured seats in the European Parliament. Photo: Facebook

Two candidates from northern Finland and one from northern Sweden secured seats in the European Parliament for the term 2024-2029. In contrast to large parts of Europe, left-leaning parties received significant support in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

The results of Sunday’s European election show that three candidates from the Arctic region have secured seats in the Eurpean Parliament, two of them being from northern Finland and one of them from northern Sweden.

One of the Finnish candidates is Sebastian Tynkkynen from Oulu, who secured the only seat in parliament for the far-right Finns Party. The party lost one of their two seats from last term.

The 35-year old Finns Party politician has been a member of the Finnish parliament since 2019, initially in opposition and now as a part of Prime Minister Orpo’s four-party coalition.

Tynkkynen is known for holding the record for the longest speech in the Finnish parliament, when he in May 2021 delivered a nearly 8.5-hour speech during a filibuster debate on the EU recovery aid package.

In the EU, Tynkkynen has expressed plans to focus particularly on immigration policy.

“Asylum seeking must be outsourced outside the EU, because otherwise the system will increasingly be used as a channel for migration,” Tynkkynen commented to Suomen Uutiset, which is supported by the Finns Party.

He also wants to move industries back to Europe from China, which he claims calls for a less strict climate policies in the EU.

Convicted for hate speech

Iltalehti reports that Tynkkynen has three recent charges and convictions for agitation against ethnic groups.

In January 2017, he was sentenced to a fine for breaching the peace of religion and agitation against an ethnic group in his Facebook posts.

In October 2019, Tynkkynen received another fine for agitation against an ethnic group after sharing racist hate speech about Muslims on Facebook.

The third conviction came in October 2021, when he was sentenced to yet another fine for the same crime. As part of his municipality election campaign in 2017, Tynkkynen posted hate speech about asylum seekers and immigrants on Facebook.

Kulmuni secures seat

Finland’s Center Party will also have northern representation in the EU.

Katri Kulmuni from Tornio also got a seat in the European Parliament, receiving most of her votes from Lapland’s electoral district. The 36-year old has been a Member of the Finnish parliament since 2015, and she was the Minister of Economic Affairs in 2019-2020 in Marin’s government.

Kulmuni said her key priority in Brussels is to simplify EU legislation related to the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. She has criticized EU’s tightening and unclear regulations around the use of natural resources, calling it a “worrying development”  which “weakens Finland’s and the whole of Europe’s international competitiveness, especially compared to the United States.” She also aims to prevent Finland from being subjected to new joint debt packages.

Experienced Swede returns to EU

The only candidate elected from the northern parts of Sweden has plenty of experience in politics. Jonas Sjöstedt from Umeå, has previously served as both the leader of the Left Party (2012-2020), a member of the Swedish parliament (2010-2020) and a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels (1995- 2006), where he was a member of the Environment Committee.

Sjöstedt was the top on the Left Party’s list and expected to be elected. In Brussels, he wants to work on climate issues in the Environment Committee. Other aims are to promote more transparency and reduce corruption in the Budget Control Committee, and to work towards sustainable support for Ukraine.

Nordics break right-wing trend

While the right-wing made significant progress in large parts of Europe with also far-right parties gaining seats, left-leaning and green parties prevailed in the Nordic countries.

In Sweden the Social Democrats, Greens and the Left Party saw the highest increase in votes compared to the 2019 European elections.

In Finland The Left Alliance improved its results from the elections in 2019 by more than ten percentage points, becoming the second-largest party. The Chairperson of the Left Alliance Party and Member of Parliament, Li Andersson, also received the most personal votes ever in Finnish history of the European elections.

For the far-right parties in Finland and Sweden, support fell drastically.

In Denmark the Green Left, Social Democrat party and Liberals received the most votes.

Out of the 720 seats in Parliament, Sweden has 21, and Finland and Denmark 15 each.


Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

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