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Minister of Education Li Andersson (left), Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (second from left) and Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (right) met the press for the first time as members of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (second from right) government in Helsinki on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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THERE IS NO disagreement between the five ruling parties concerning labour market policy, insists Sanna Marin (SDP), the newly appointed Prime Minister of Finland.

Questions about the labour market policy approach of the government arose following recent comments by Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (Centre). Kulmuni on Sunday criticised the previous government for its general handling of labour market issues.

“It became a bit of a habit to in advance pledge support to one of the parties on matters that should be approached completely impartially and with a cool head. Adopting any kind of position in advance only makes it more complicated for labour market organisations to negotiate,” she underlined on social media.

The government, she added, thereby appeared to give permission to one party to squeeze every last drop out of the collective bargaining negotiations.

Marin on Tuesday said the Social Democratic Party stand by wage earners and low-income Finns.

“The labour market situation is challenging, unstable. We as a society can’t afford to let the strikes continue. This is now in the hands of labour market organisations and the national conciliator,” she said in a joint press conference with her fellow newly appointed cabinet members.

Kulmuni, in turn, stated that she considers it important to make sure labour market organisations are granted the time and freedom to agree on issues that, primarily, affect themselves.

Marin on Monday also confirmed that her government is committed to the objective of raising the employment rate to 75 per cent and adding 30,000 people to the ranks of the employed by the end of the electoral term in 2023. Not meeting the objective is not even an option, she declared when asked about the fate of the mooted permanent spending increases in the eventuality that the objective is not met.

“We won’t end up in that situation. This government will meet the employment targets it has set for itself,” she affirmed.

Both Marin and Kulmuni declined to comment specifically on the situation at al-Hol, a detention camp for the relatives of terror suspects in Syria. Members of the Centre Party, however, have demanded that the government not help its citizens to return to Finland.

“The government hasn’t made a political decision on the issue in its meetings,” retorted Kulmuni.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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