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Home NATIONALKeskusta agrees to hold dialogue with govt on austerity measures
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Wed, 19 Feb, 2014 12:53:35 AM
FTimes-STT Report, February 19
 
File picture of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
Opposition party Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) will participate in the economic policy discussions initiated by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
 
The Centre Party will be represented by Annika Saarikko, the vice-chairman of the Party, in the discussions because the Party chief Juha Sipilä is still on sick leave.
 
The other opposition party Perussuomalaiset (Finns party) had not yet confirmed or denied their participation in the discussions.
 
According to the Premier, the discussion is intended to tackle three crucial issues of party commitment to the fiscal adjustments, recognition of the Finance Ministry’s forecasts and adjustments and the timetable for the implementation of the measures whether it needs to be done at once or need to be spread over the years.
 
The answers regarding the fiscal adjustment are not even clear within the government itself. Jutta Urpilainen, the Finance Minister and the party leader of Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland), has not yet taken any stance on whether the fiscal adjustment should be carried during this government's term.
 
Speaking in Brussels, Urpilainen said that talks are still on between the SDP and the government.
 
Vice Chairman of the Keskusta (Centre Party)Annika Saarikko. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
The Finance Minister also admitted last week in parliament that the issue of leaving the fiscal adjustment decision on the next government was not that simple.
 
Jouni Backman, the head of SDP parliamentary group said earlier on Tuesday in an interview with Verkkouutiset, a Finnish language online newspaper that the social democrats do not support the idea of leaving the next government to make concrete decisions on the budget adjustment and prefers sequencing of the adjustments.
 
Verkkouutiset reported in January that Backman was of the opinion that the decision on the fiscal adjustment should be done now.
 
According to Urpilainen, SPD will take a position in the near future after meetings with its parliamentary group, parties in the government and Economic Policy working group.
 
"We will discuss in those meetings and also hear from experts. Afterwards when the time is ripe we will also make the necessary decision," said Urpilainen.
 
According to the Minister the issue of fiscal adjustment has a wide consensus but further discussion is needed on the issue of the timetable of its execution.
 
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