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Prospective coalition partners reject budget cuts

Finland’s centre-right party Kokoomus and the populist Finns party—which look set to join a coalition government—have said they will oppose cuts in higher education and research.

Finland held its national election on 19 April, which saw Keskusta—the centre party—gain the most votes. Prime minister-elect and leader of Keskusta Juha Sipilä has led negotiations with the aim of forming a coalition government. On 7 May, Sipilä announced that he had chosen Kokoomus, the centre-right incumbents, and the Finns, the anti-EU party, as his top choices. Before forming a coalition, the three parties now have to agree on the policies that will form the backbone of their government.

Sipilä sent out a list of 15 questions to all parties following the election, one of which addressed higher education and research. Both Kokoomus and the Finns said they do not want cuts to higher education and research. Whereas the Finns said they want to emphasise the availability of long-term funding for education, Kokoomus said that they want to see reforms that would improve research and education quality. This would make Finland more internationally competitive, according to Kokoomus.

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