(Bloomberg) -- Finnish talks to form a government overcame a major obstacle after the parties patched up a row over immigration policy that threatened to throw the process in disarray.
Negotiations will continue on Monday after the sides found a “common view,” National Coalition leader Petteri Orpo told reporters in Helsinki on Saturday.
He spoke after the Swedish People’s Party, a junior partner in talks, refused to back a proposal approved by pro-business National Coalition and two other parties regarding the policy on foreigners, risking to further draw out the formation of a ruling coalition.
“We have gone through the changes that the Swedish People’s Party proposed. We have found a common view and an agreement,” said Orpo, the winner of last month’s general elections, without giving details on what those changes were.
The talks in the current constellation — that also includes anti-immigration Finns Party and the Christian Democrats — were teetering on the brink as the prospective coalition would fall short of parliamentary majority without the Swedish People’s Party, with the Finns Party insisting on no “substantial” changes to the agreement on immigration.
An impasse would have required inviting another political force into the negotiations, which have lasted 4 weeks and which Orpo aims to wrap up next month.
Riikka Purra, the head of the far-right party, told reporters “it will be easier to continue the talks now after these difficult issues have been solved.”
The talks switched gear this week after the Finns Party pushed for the agenda to solely focus on the two most contentious topics — immigration and climate policies, following progress on economic policy.
The coalition partners will have to agree to balance the public finances with at least €6 billion of austerity measures during the next four years after evidence the Nordic nation’s books are in a worse state than suggested earlier, Orpo said earlier this month. Public anxiety over government debt contributed to the victory of Orpo’s National Coalition Party in the parliamentary election in April.
Read More: Finnish Cabinet Talks in Limbo as Junior Partner Threatens Veto
(Updates with deal reached from first paragraph.)
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