Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, spoke to reporters at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Monday, 15 May 2023. Orpo said the right-wing coalition government he is forming will not compromise on the carbon neutrality target for 2035 but may pursue the target with measures that differ from those of its predecessor. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


PETTERI ORPO, the chairperson of the National Coalition, on Monday declared at the House of the Estates in Helsinki that the next government will not compromise on the national target of becoming carbon neutral by 2035.

“[We won’t backtrack on] the target,” he was quoted saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

“After all, we agreed in the preliminary phase [of the coalition formation process] that the 2035 target laid down in the climate act will stay intact,” he added, replying to a question about whether all issues, including the carbon-neutrality target, are on the table in the coalition formation negotiations he is leading.

The Swedish People’s Party has previously outlined that a condition to its participation in the ruling coalition is that the coalition not only remains committed to, but also works actively toward the target.

Orpo on Monday estimated, though, that the next government is likely to work toward the target with different measures than its predecessor.

“If we can form a government with this composition, I’m sure we’ll resort to different kind of measures given our belief in the market economy, for example,” he commented, refusing to speculate on the measures.

He added that the government will seek measures that neither create any cost increases for anyone, nor undermine competitiveness.

Orpo also offered a straightforward answer on the question of development co-operation appropriations. He argued that all expenditure items will have to be reviewed in the coalition formation negotiations in light of the economic situation, adding that it is all but a guarantee that development co-operation appropriations will be cut.

“It’s really rather clear that we’ll reduce them. But by how much, over what time frame and how, those are questions that are discussed in the negotiations.”

The Christian Democrats and Swedish People’s Party have both voiced their opposition to slashing development co-operation appropriations. Anna-Maja Henriksson, the chairperson of the Swedish People’s Party, stated last week that the party is not ready to make major cuts in the appropriations but would prefer to raise them to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, to align with commitments made to both the EU and he UN.

Raising the appropriations to 0.7 per cent of national income is a goal also for the Christian Democrats.

The Finns Party, by contrast, is looking to slash development co-operation funding. Jussi Halla-aho, an ex-chairperson of the populist right-wing party, stated a week ago that the party is looking to make as large cuts as possible in development co-operation funds in the coalition formation negotiations.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT