HELSINKI, March 17 (Reuters) - Finland’s government is to direct 300 million euros ($331 million) to Finnish farmers facing an “acute liquidity crisis” caused by high inflation and rising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine, finance minister Annika Saarikko said on Thursday.
“Farmers are out of cash at a time when they need to buy fertilisers, seeds and livestock feed every day,” Saarikko told reporters, referring to the approaching spring farming season.
Saarikko said she expected the European Union to decide by next week if the bloc’s rules could be loosened to allow higher subsidies to be paid to farmers under existing support schemes, otherwise Finland would introduce a new national crisis support mechanism.
“The state is committed to a totality of 300 million euros which will be given predominantly in direct support to farms,” Saarikko said.
Without detailing amounts, Saarikko added the government also plans to boost defence spending and is looking into ways of supporting the transport sector, which is also struggling with rising energy costs.
Neighbouring Sweden on Monday said it would cut fuel taxes to ease high prices.
“In my opinion the state’s part in the short term is to handle the acute liquidity crisis which stems from rising energy prices so that we can come out of this without losing profitable farms,” Saarikko said. ($1 = 0.9060 euros) (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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