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Soini adamant: No deregulation of taxi services

Foreign Minister and Finns Party leader Timo Soini has denied a report that the government is prepared to deregulate taxi services. He says that it is not part of the government platform and that individual cabinet members cannot move ahead on the issue without full government approval.

Ulkoministeri Timo Soini. Image: Yle

Soini's rejection of opening up taxi operations to competition followed a report Friday evening by MTV3 that Centre Party Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner has plans to deregulate the sector.

"The government is not opening up the taxi business to competition. This has not been discussed within the cabinet and the Finns Party does not support such an initiative. Opening the taxi business to competition does not suit the Finns Party", Soini told Yle.

Timo Soini stressed that such a move is nowhere noted in the government's programme, so no individual cabinet minister can push it forward without full cabinet approval.

"Things can't be managed through leaks, by doing something that is not agreed upon within the government. It's unacceptable," said Soini

He added that opposition to the idea by the Finns Party is in part related to the safety of taxi drivers and customers.

"We have to have clear regulations on who can engage in this business and on what terms. We think that this [present] system is basically a good one. Of course, it can always be improved, but in cooperation with the Taxi Owners Federation, not with some unilateral declaration.

According the MTV3's report, Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner will introduce a plan to deregulate licensing and pricing for taxi services early next week, as part of a broader package of changes to transport services.