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Marin: Cabinet still functional despite internal disputes

With parliamentary elections in just over four months, the five-party coalition has been scrambling to complete its legislative agenda before the end of its term.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) took part in a roundtable discussion with journalists at her official residence, Kesäranta, on Sunday. Image: Stina Virkamäki / Valtioneuvoston kanslia
Yle News

According to Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), the government remains capable of functioning despite a series of controversies in recent weeks that have hampered its decision-making. 

Marin spoke to reporters during the regular Prime Minister's interview session on Sunday afternoon, broadcast on Yle Radio Suomi. She took part in the roundtable discussion with four journalists at her official residence, Kesäranta, in Helsinki's Meilahti neighbourhood.

With parliamentary elections in just over four months, the five-party centre-left coalition has been scrambling to complete its legislative agenda before the end of its term.

Marin said she regretted that not all of the government's planned legislative projects made it to Parliament in time for consideration before its recess begins in March.

"The government work has been contentious, but this close to the elections, orders from the prime minister will hardly help. I hope that the work in Parliament will go smoothly and these issues will be taken care of," said Marin.

"I wouldn't say it's been chaos," she said in response to a question. "We've had bills that are, frankly, difficult for the Centre," said Marin. The second-largest government party has become an internal opposition of sorts in recent months.

Splits in government ranks

Government party ranks have split several times in Parliament this autumn over issues such as the EU's Nature Restoration Law and the revised Act on the Sámi Parliament, both of which the Centre bitterly opposed.

The cabinet did not agree to back the Nature Restoration Law, while insisting that it remains committed to climate action. The bill was backed by two smaller government partners, the Greens and the Left Alliance.

"We do not accept that the costs are vague and very expensive for Finland compared to other European countries," said Marin when asked why the cabinet did not back the bill.

The government is still committed to making Finland carbon neutral by 2035, she said.

The next cabinet must be able to continue on the same path, because not everything toward this goal can be achieved during the current government, Marin asserted.

She defended her cabinet's climate policy, saying "we're much closer to achieving carbon neutrality than we thought".

In order to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, agricultural emissions must be reduced by one third. 

"I believe that agricultural producers can be climate heroes. It just has to be profitable for them," she added. 

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