Finnish Cabinet Steps Back From Brink as Talks Progress

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Finland’s government made some progress in talks over its spending framework that had brought the five-party coalition close to a breakup.

The negotiations, originally scheduled to take two days, dragged into their fifth day on Sunday and hit an impasse after several hours as leaders sought enough common ground to continue governing together. Some headway had been made by the time the talks ended at about 9 p.m. local time in Helsinki to resume on Monday.

“We’re sitting at the negotiating table and we’re ready to talk things over together and that’s good,” Social Democrat Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters as she left the venue. “I have a lot of patience.”

At the heart of the dispute is the left-leaning parties’ push to rejig spending limits for the next four years. They’re prioritizing “social justice” over fiscal prudence by spending money on job creation. The Center Party led by Annika Saarikko wants the government to stick to its road map of halting the growth of public debt by 2030, though it’s also willing to continue stimulus to the Nordic nation’s economy for two more years.

The parties also disagree on how to help struggling peat farmers as the cost of emitting carbon dioxide causes demand for the fossil fuel to plummet faster than expected. A failure to agree on a budget framework would likely lead to the government’s resignation.

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