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Sun, 12 Oct, 2014 12:04:37 AM
FTimes - STT Report, Oct. 12
File picture of Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.Photo – Lehtikuva.
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has said that Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade Finland's credit rating is unfortunate but not surprising.
The Finnish premier has emphasised that what is important is not the decision made by one credit rating agency but the issues behind the decision, according to a press release issued on Saturday.
“Alarm bells have been ringing for some time, but they have not been taken seriously enough. We cannot continue like this,” Stubb says.
The agreed adjustments of EUR 6.5 billion during the ongoing electoral period and the fact that the budget proposal was tightened for the second year running are but a necessary start, according to the prime minister.
As grounds for their credit rating decision, S&P cite aging population, shrinking workforce, weakening external demand, problems in the ICT and forest sectors and inflexible labour market structures.
“The credit rating indicates that the Finnish society needs reform. The problems will not be resolved overnight – we have a long way ahead of us,” he maintainns.  
“We have a great deal of work to do for the rest of the government term. Legislative amendments relating to the structural policy programme will be submitted to Parliament by 4 December for them to be implemented during this electoral period,” the release says quoting the prime minister as saying.
According to Stubb, the agreed adjustments and the decisions based on the structural policy programme make part of a short-term plan.
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