Finnish cabinet talk reports tangible progress

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HELSINKI, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Political parties involved in the Finnish cabinet forming process reported tangible progress as of Tuesday.

Social Democratic leader and the likely prime minister Antti Rinne said on Monday night that agreement on the fiscal frame had been reached. Centrist leader Juha Sipila told local media on Tuesday that a "great leap" had been taken.

Rinne said that open questions remain, but they "do not pertain to economy or employment". According to Rinne there was no quarrel about the forest utilization level either. He confirmed later new permanently budgeted costs would amount to 1.5 billion euros.

Rinne said the division of ministerial portfolios and even the size of the cabinet had not been discussed yet.

Green chairman Pekka Haavisto said, however, that "tough negotiation" still continued, but confirmed joint view on the economic framework exists.

He said major infrastructure spending on railroads was understood as expenditure that will boost employment and have ecological impact as well.

Negotiators have earlier mentioned high speed rail links to Turku on the west coast, Tampere north of Helsinki, and possibly to Kouvola, northeast of Helsinki.

Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported on Tuesday that the negotiators had agreed to sell public property worth up to three billion euros.

Party leaders will meet again on Wednesday afternoon, when the care-taker prime minister Juha Sipila returns from a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

Rinne has predicted the government program could be completed on Wednesday evening, excluding the division of portfolios. In the Finnish system, the prime minister does not choose the ministers, but participating parties each makes their selections. Enditem

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