Calling for a personal response to the burgeoning refugee crisis in Europe, Finland’s prime minister Juha Sipilä said that he will offer his home to displaced migrants, many fleeing from the war in Syria. “We should all take a look in the mirror and ask how we can help,” said Sipilä in an interview with the Finnish media outlet YLE, according to Reuters.
Sipilä said that his seldom-used home in Kempele in northern Finland could welcome refugees starting early next year. A former businessman, Sipilä assumed office in May 2015 and now spends most of this time in Helsinki with his family. Sipilä is not a stranger to personal tragedy. His youngest son, Tuomo, 20, died due to complications from a surgery in February.
As the European Union deliberates how to redistribute the 120,000 refugees who have flocked to Greece, Italy and Hungary, Sipilä said he believes that countries should provide assistance on a voluntary basis but hopes that Finland will set an example. His government also announced yesterday (Sept. 4) that they are preparing to welcome up to 30,000 asylum seekers this year, increasing the number by seven-fold since last year.