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Governing parties reach agreement on budget, emissions cuts

The Centre and Greens reached a compromise over measures to cut emissions, paving the way for the overall budget deal to go ahead.

Sanna Marin, Annika Saarikko ja Anna-Maja Henriksson saapuu hallituksen infoon Kesärannassa.
Finance Minister Annika Saarikko (Cen), Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) at government talks last month. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle
Yle News

The government has reached an agreement on next year's budget as well as measures aimed at cutting climate-warming emissions, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said early on Thursday afternoon during a brief joint press conference held with the leaders of the other four government parties outside the House of the Estates in Helsinki.

Cabinet ministers are to provide further details at another press conference beginning at 3 pm.

Marin said all the outstanding budget issues had been resolved.

"I think the package we have come up with together is very good. It is broad and we can be proud of it," said Marin.

The chairs of the five government parties praised both the outcome of the budget talks and their mutual willingness to cooperate despite differences of opinion.

"I would not have agreed to this latest solution if I wasn't satisfied with its sensible green policies," Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Cen) said, referring to the climate dispute between her party and the Greens.

On Wednesday, Marin asked the Greens and the Centre to find a bilateral solution on cutting climate emissions in what the EU defines as the effort-sharing sector, which covers most transport, buildings and agricultural production.

The Centre said late on Wednesday that it had submitted a proposal to the Greens on how to resolve their disputes over cutting climate emissions. The Greens offered their own compromise solution, and talks among all five parties resumed on Thursday morning.

This round of budget negotiations lasted three days, compared to eight days last spring – when the Centre and other parties also locked horns over emissions, at that point focusing on the use of highly-polluting peat for energy.

"A package that takes us forward"

Greens chair and Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo also said that she was satisfied with the latest climate solution.

"This is a package that takes us forward. All the governing parties have brought solutions to the table and made compromises," she said.

According to Left Alliance chair and Education Minister Li Andersson, the negotiations ensured that sufficiently credible action was taken on the 2035 climate-neutral goals.

Swedish People's Party chair and Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson thanked the prime minister for skilfully leading the process and her colleagues for wise solutions.

"This is the management of the situation that this country currently demands, needs and deserves," said Henriksson.

Thursday afternoon's parliamentary schedule remains uncertain. The ministers were to attend parliamentary group meetings at 2 pm and Parliamentary question time beginning at 4 pm.

Meanwhile Saarikko will miss an informal meeting of European Union finance ministers in Slovenia due to the protracted budget dispute.

The two-day meeting starts on Friday in Brdo pri Kranju, a castle estate located in the west of the country.

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