Government's budget talks start in earnest

The government is gathering at the Prime Minister's recreational country residence, Harpsund, on Wednesday, to kick off this autumn's budget negotiations.

The government, consisting of the Social Democrats and the Green Party, will discuss the budget framework for next year. Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson and Minister for Financial Markets Per Bolund are due to present their forecast for next year's state budget, which will be presented in full on 20 September. 

"I see no dark clouds, but we do have societal challenges," said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven speaking of the upcoming budget period.

An on-going problem for the current government, as it was for the previous centre-right Alliance government, is to reach a budget surplus and saving for future economic slumps. On Tuesday, the opposition Moderate Party made it clear that it thinks the country's economy is in good shape, but that the government ought to be saving more. But the Minister of Finance stressed the current government's austerity achievements.

"We've turned the development with steadily increasing deficits around into a a significantly better development," Andersson said.

The Left Party has also started to line up demands. The party wants to scale down the tax deductions on the mortgage interest-rates, starting next year, reports news agency TT. 

On the menu at Harpsund apart from budget talks is Sweden's traditional August party food, crayfish. 

As the government spoke to the press before the meeting started, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven took a minute to express his condolences to Italy in the wake of the earthquake that shook the country last night.

"We really want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to those affected, but also to the whole of Italy. I have of course sent my condolences to Prime Minister Renzi with regards to this. It's a sad moment, and we will of course co-operate with Italy should it express the need for help," Löfven said.