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Home NATIONALPolitical parties fail to agree on austerity timeframe
Wed, 26 Feb, 2014 04:03:40 AM
All parties committed to carry out expenditure cut move: PM
FTimes-STT Report, February 26
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen after the meeting between ruling and opposition parties on austerity move on Tuesday. Photo Lehtikuva.
The political dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties held on Tuesday failed to reach any understanding on the government’s austerity plans for tackling economic crisis.
Although the parties from both tents felt that austerity was necessary to overcome the situation, they failed to agree on the time of implementation, meeting sources said.
Leaders of the opposition parties said they would leave the decision on fiscal adjustment to the government.
Timo Soini, leader of main opposition Perussuomalaiet (Finns Party), said the opposition would present its options after the government made its decision in the March discussion on public spending limits. 
Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) vice-chair Annika Saarikko criticised the ruling parties terming Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s perspective too narrow.
Saariko remarked that the proposed €3bn budget adjustment was no match for the prevailing economic turmoil.
Annika Saarikko Vice-President of the Centre and the True Finns leader Timo Soini during the meeting. Photo Lehtikuva.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Katainen reassured that all the political parties were committed to comply with the proposed fiscal adjustment plans.
After Tuesday’s joint discussion, the premier told journalists that the talks were intended to reach a common understanding on how to best address the budget deficit. He said all the eight parties agreed that the process of getting out of the debt fold required several years.
Katainen also acknowledged that the parties were in agreement over the fact that the debt burden did not appear overnight, rather was a legacy carried forward over a long period of time.
The premier pointed out that the government and the opposition intended to continue the talks. The aim was to see if a common understanding could be struck and be presented now and later could be extended if necessary by the next government.
Katainen said he had expected that the opposition would clear its stance on the timeframe in which to carry out spending cuts and tax increases.
Tuesday’s talks followed an urge from the prime minister to the opposition parties to sit in a dialogue.
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