Fifty percent of the Finnish entrepreneurs believe that the racism debates took place in the country during the summer put a negative impact on Finland´s image, according to a survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises (Suomen Yrittäjät).
Majority of the respondents also expressed their dissatisfaction over the activities of the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP) led four-party alliance right-wing government, said the federation in a press release on Saturday.
About 33 of the respondents, however, did not think that the discussions on racism put a harmful effect.
"The summer discussion, even though it is partly based on writing from years ago, raises questions and concerns among entrepreneurs," said Mikael Pentikäinen, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.
The perception of the impact of racism, however, varied between women and men respondents.
About 64 percent of the female respondents said that the racism issue put a harmful effect on the image of the country while 42 percent of men think so.
Few entrepreneurs (six percent) also believed that the racism issue also put a harmful effect on their business operation and reputation.
"The debate will affect the country's image, but not to a large extent individual businesses. Customers evaluate companies by their service and competence," Pentikäinen said.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of the entrepreneurs opined that they were not satisfied to the activities of the government while 23 percent expressed satisfaction and 14 percent were confused over the role of the government.
About 45 percent of the entrepreneurs and company representatives, however, were satisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, 36 percent were dissatisfied and 19 percent expressed confusion.
But more respondents expressed dissatisfaction over the role of Finance Minister Riikka Purra, also Chairperson of the radical rightist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the second largest component of the alliance government.
Fifty percent expressed dissatisfaction over Purra´s performance while 34 percent were satisfied.
The survey was conducted by interviewing 1,207 representatives of Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from August 9 to August 16.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties announced to submit a no-confidence motion in the parliament against Purra and Economic Affairs Minister Wille Rydman for their racist remarks.
Purra came under fire following widespread controversy raised over racial, apparently violent and anti-immigrant comments made in guise of an identity of ´riikka´ in 2008 on a blog hosted by former Chairperson of her party Jussi Halla-aho, also Speaker of the present parliament.
On July 11, Purra admitted that she made the controversial remarks on the Scripta blog 15 years ago in guise of a username "riikka" and apologised for the racial, violent and anti-immigrant comments.
Rydman made the remarks in text messages sent to his former dating partner when he was a lawmaker of the conservative Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP), the main component of the alliance.
Petteri Orpo-led four-party right-wing alliance government took office on June 20.
On July 6, Rydman was appointed as the Minister of Economic Affairs replacing his party colleague Vilhelm Junnila.
Earlier on June 30, Junnila decided to resign following the controversy raised over his links to far-right groups.
Rydman left Kokoomus and joined Perussuomalaiset in January, 2023 following allegations of inappropriate behavious to women in June 2022.
Another Perussuomalaiset leader and Interior Minister Mari Rantanen faced strong criticism for her social media post related to far-right ideology and immigration.
Speaker of the parliament and former Perussuomalaiset Chairperson Jussi Halla-aho, who hosted the Scripta blog was convicted of inciting hatred against an ethnic group in 2012.
- Riikka Purra