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Parliamentary committee approves basic Sote solutions, calls for corrections

Previous attempts to advance the reform of social and healthcare services have become bogged down by constitutional issues.

Perustuslakivaliokunnan ovi eduskunnassa Helsingissä.
File photo of the office of Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Finland's long-running health and social services reform, known as sote, took a decisive step forward on Friday when a key parliamentary committee said the government's proposal did not infringe on fundamental or constitutional rights.

"The basic solutions are not problematic from a constitutional point of view," Constitutional Law Committee chair Antti Rinne (SDP) said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The committee did however request a number of adjustments to the proposal, including in relation to the status of Helsinki, the cancellation of outsourcing agreements and compensation arrangements for the transfer of municipal property, but Rinne described these changes as "moderate".

The reform seeks to hand over responsibility for social and healthcare provision from Finland's 293 municipalities to 21 regional authorities plus the city of Helsinki, and the proposal will now proceed to the Social Affairs and Health Committee.

Committee chair Markus Lohi (Cen) said the proposal may even be submitted to Parliament for decision before the parliamentary summer recess.

The opposition National Coalition and Finns parties have indicated that they intend to submit a motion of no confidence in the government over the proposed reform, as in their view the current draft will not improve people's access to services or curb the increase in the cost of social services.

The previous government's sote package became bogged down in the constitutional law committee as well as parliament's health committee, and the failure to get the reform over the line eventually led to Juha Sipilä's (Cen) government resigning.

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