Finland's incoming justice minister from the populist Finns Party says he approves of the death penalty in "some circumstances."

Jari Lindstrom was expressing his personal opinion and not speaking on behalf of the incoming government. He said Thursday that capital punishment could be acceptable for "extremely heavy crimes, such as against small children."

The 49-year-old lawmaker says the death penalty wasn't "one of the main issues" on his agenda when he is due to take up his ministerial post on Friday.

The death penalty, banned in Finland in 1949, has been abolished in all EU countries.

Lindstrom is one of four new ministers from the EU-skeptic Finns Party, which is in a ruling coalition for the first time.