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Purra threatens to quit government talks unless "sufficient results" are reached on Friday

"Immigration as a whole is difficult," the Finns Party leader said on Friday.

Profile photo of a blonde middle-aged woman in an orange dress, her hands folded on a podium, against a dark background
Riikka Purra, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party, spoke to the press on Friday at Helsinki's House of the Estates, after nearly four weeks of cabinet formation talks. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

Riikka Purra, chair of the Finns Party, warned on Friday that her party – the second-largest in the new Parliament – could walk out of talks on forming a new government if no concrete agreements are reached on the most controversial issues by 6pm on Friday.

At that point, the teams negotiating on the hot-button issues of immigration and emissions reductions are to report to the four party leaders on what progress they have made in the talks.

The talks are being led by Petteri Orpo's National Coalition Party (NCP), which narrowly won elections nearly two months ago. The two junior partners in his planned centre-right coalition government would be the Christian Democrats (CD) and the Swedish People's Party (SPP).

"If there are no sufficient results today, the negotiations will then break off," Purra said on Friday morning.

Purra: Immigration issues difficult

The Finns Party leader then waffled when asked whether her party would quit the negotiations if it is not satisfied with the results by then.

"I can't say, it certainly depends on what the situation is like in the [negotiating] groups," she replied.

If the groups request additional time to negotiate, the leaders of the four parties will decide on the matter, she said.

Purra noted that there had been more progress in the climate negotiations than on immigration.

"Immigration as a whole is difficult," she said.

Purra voiced indirect criticism of PM-designate Orpo, who has led the process since the early-April election. In her opinion, the most difficult issues should have been decided at the very beginning of the government talks, so that the negotiators' time would not have been wasted.

"The fact that the other discussion groups are now taking a break is very reasonable. This check [on the most contentious issues] should have been done right from the start," she asserted.

When asked about a Finns Party council meeting scheduled for Saturday, Purra said that it has "nothing to do" with the government negotiations.

"Matters related to government negotiations or participation in the government will not be decided at that meeting, because things have not yet reached that stage. It is a regular meeting," she told reporters.

Henriksson: SPP won't back down on climate

Meanwhile, Anna-Maja Henriksson, chair of the smaller, centrist Swedish People's Party, expressed hope that the four-party talks could continue but stressed that her party would not back down on its stance on key issues such as emissions reductions.

Henriksson said that negotiations had continued until around midnight on Thursday.

"The real mood here is that we want to find solutions. I hope they are found," she said on Friday morning.

According to Henriksson, serious work is now being done so that the cabinet formation talks at House of Estates can continue but that this "remains to be seen".

Henriksson said that the SPP still insists that Finland must be carbon neutral by 2035, in line with a policy written into law by the outgoing centre-left government, which included the SPP.

"The SPP is not going to back off from this goal," Henriksson reiterated.

The new Climate Act, which entered into force last July, sets new emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 and updates the reduction target for 2050. It stipulates that Finland must be carbon neutral by 2035 at the latest.

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