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Government talks set to continue pending decision by SPP parliamentary group on Saturday

The parties seeking to form a new governing coalition reached tentative agreements on the most divisive issues on Friday – but it remained unclear whether the Swedish People's Party would accept them.

Four smiling politicians, three women and one man, standing behind podiums in front a dark blue background, with the backs of reporters' heads in the foreground.
Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP), Petteri Orpo (NCP), Riikka Purra (Finns) and Sari Essayah (CD) held a press conference on Friday evening at the House of Estates. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

The leaders of the four parties aiming to form a new Finnish government held a joint press conference on Friday evening and said that negotiations are to continue on Saturday.

In recent days, talks have focussed solely on the two most controversial issues: immigration and climate/energy policy. The negotiating teams dedicated to these topics drew up position papers on them on Friday.

Anna-Maja Henriksson, the chair of the Swedish People's Party (SPP), said at the press conference that her negotiators had not agreed to the statements, particularly the one regarding immigration, which the nationalist Finns Party insists must be significantly restricted.

Henriksson said that the SPP's 10-member parliamentary group will meet on Saturday morning to discuss whether to approve these two papers and continue with government negotiations. She declined to say whether she would recommend that the party's MPs approve them.

Yle has learned that one of the sticking points on immigration is how high the required minimum monthly income should be for work-based immigrants from outside the EU. In most cases, this is now 1,331 euros per month.

Purra: Finns Party will quit if SPP rejects compromises

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra countered that if the SPP did not approve the two papers, her party would quit the negotiations.

"If the SPP's group meeting comes to the conclusion that these [agreed policies] are insufficient, then we cannot continue. I hope that the SPP will give a green light," Purra said.

Prime Minister-designate Petteri Orpo (NCP) declined to speculate on what would happen if the SPP does not accept the climate and immigration policy papers, but said that he hoped it would do so.

The nationalist Finns Party and the SPP are seen as the furthest apart on these and other issues, and both have insisted that they will not abandon their core values in order to join a new cabinet.

Without the support of both parties, Orpo is unlikely to be able to put together a right-leaning coalition with a stable majority in Parliament.

He declined to reveal any details about the compromise agreements on the most contentious issues.

SPP negotiators left the House of Estates

The chair of the SPP parliamentary group, Anders Adlercreutz, told Yle that the SPP negotiators left the House of Estates on Friday afternoon to discuss the status of the talks in various groupings, concluding their meetings shortly after 5pm.

Henriksson noted that there is a range of views within her party, which is generally seen as fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues. As a party representing the 5-percent Swedish-speaking minority, it has traditionally sought to defend the rights of other minorities, including immigrants. The SPP is the only one of the five outgoing government parties that has joined the Orpo-led talks on the next cabinet.

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