Finland’s government agreed on a €5.5 billion addition to its budget on Tuesday (2 June) focusing on basic public services, education and green transport infrastructure.
However, while the opposition deems some measures justifiable, it accused the government of reckless spending.
Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni (Centre) defended the €18.8 billion additional state debt taken on finance the measures by saying the budget would help the country to get back on its feet, but also pave the way for a stronger society after the pandemic.
Ministers say that €600 million will be allocated to rail and tram infrastructure, while €18 million will fund measures encouraging citizens to cycle and walk more. Another €200 million will be allocated to universities and €300 million would be designated for yet undefined climate action programmes.
Marginalisation and other social problems will be tackled by a €310 million package, while the biggest share, €1.4 billion, is targeted at municipalities taking care of basic healthcare.
Kulmuni, however, warned that increased taxes and spending cuts in the future cannot be avoided.
MP Riikka Purra of the far-right Finns Party tweeted that “it came as no surprise that the government unable to hold back during normal times now takes the pin off”.
“A supplemental budget was meant for handling the coronavirus crisis, but it became a reckless distribution of money,” the Chairperson of the National Coalition, Petteri Orpo, said on Twitter.
“Younger generations have to pay for this in higher taxes and growing debt. This kind of irresponsibility is unacceptable, there needs to be a new direction,” he added.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)