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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen (Centre) spoke to the media during the first day of the government’s two-day budget session on the steps of the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Monday, 14 September. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) yesterday began its two-day wrangle over the central government budget for 2021 at the House of the Estates in Helsinki.

Marin on Monday revealed to the media that although the chairpersons of the five ruling parties have convened a number of times to discuss the budget proposal, they continue to be faced with an enormous task.

“Nothing has been agreed on until everything has been agreed on,” she reminded. “But there has been progress, too.”

The quintet, she elaborated, continues to have several major issues on its table, ranging from the coronavirus epidemic and employment measures to climate actions and the reform of energy taxation. She added that the government has a very realistic understanding of the state of the national economy and recognises the need for both growth drivers and structural reforms.

Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko (Centre) reminded members of the media of the exceptionally bleak economic circumstances in which the budget session is taking place.

“The government’s priorities are clear,” she affirmed. “Our primary goal is that – with public health and the economy being so unusually intertwined these days – all measures and messages from the budget session will support Finland’s objective of preventing a second wave of coronavirus [infections].”

“The negotiations have progressed positively between the five parties,” added Saarikko.

Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen (Centre) similarly called attention to the bleak economic outlook, viewing that questions linked to businesses, employment, exports and the real economy will emerge as the key issues of the session, along with the coronavirus pandemic.

He viewed that the government should set its sights beyond the pandemic and find common ground on credible employment measures that ensure labour supply increases and employment services are enhanced to tackle the labour-market mismatch.

The government has promised to announce measures that create a minimum of 30,000 new jobs in Finland. The need for new jobs, however, is considerably greater, according to Vanhanen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi