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Jun 26, 2019

Danish Government Agreement in Place: Mette Frederiksen to be Prime Minister

Just before midnight on June 25, the Royal Negotiator Mette Frederiksen (S) announced that she and her negotiating partners (Social Liberal Party, Socialistic People’s Party and the Red-Green Alliance) reached a common ‘political understanding’ for their government alliance.

The Social Democrats thus have a majority of the Parliament’s support to form a S-led minority government under the auspices of Mette Frederiksen as Prime Minister. The announcement marks the end of 20-days of negotiation following the National General Election on June 5th, 2019.

Unlike previous governments, Mette Frederiksen’s coalition government has not formulated an official government plan. However, they did release an 18-page ‘agreement’ document, which will serve as the government’s guiding principles. Key focus areas include climate, minimum staff quotas for day care centers and an ambition to attract more foreign labor from EU countries.

Key focus areas include:

  • A climate law: The new government coalition has committed to reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions with 70 percent by 2030 (from 1990 levels).  The agricultural industry must also reduce emissions, utilizing agricultural subsidies to incentivize the industry to embrace more sustainable production methods. Finally, diesel and gasoline automobiles will no longer be sold from 2030.
  • Sjælsmark: Families with children will be relocated from the deportation center Sjælsmark to a more ‘suitable’ location in accordance with recommendations from Red Cross and Ombudsmanden.
  • Staff quotas for day care centers: The government will impose minimum staff quotas for day care centers, which will be fully phased in by 2025. The minimum quota has yet to be determined.
  • More qualified foreign labor: The new government will work to ensure that companies or public institutions with specific and urgent need for labor (minimum skilled labor) are able to swiftly attract qualified foreign labor. The Minister of Employment-to-be will have the mandate to define which job positions will qualify for recruitment under these criteria. Employers must commit to uphold Danish salary and hiring conditions.The government will establish Danish job centers in other European countries and work with the business community to allow more English-speaking students from Europe in areas where companies are lacking talent. The government will work to retain international students who have studied in Denmark and remove the cap on English-language educations.
  • Upgrading unskilled labor: The government will increase the skill and productivity level of unskilled workers by investing in research and education.
  • Framework conditions: The government aims to ensure good and stable framework conditions for the Danish business community, with the aim to increase Danish exports and Denmark’s overall competitiveness. The government will carry out an active and ‘green’ business policy with broad parliamentarian support, in order to increase foreign investments into Denmark – and support Denmark’s positions of strength.
  • Welfare for the elderly, children and the sick: The government will increase welfare spending to cover the increasing number of elderly and children. Future political initiatives and financial agreements will focus on how to improve welfare.
  • Education: The education cap as well as the municipal reprioritization scheme will be discontinued along with the national tests in primary and lower secondary school.
  • Social Security: The cap on social security benefits (kontantshjælpsloftet) will be discontinued. The new government will also cancel the former government’s decrease of the integration allowance (DKK 2,000).
  • Lindholm: The government will find an alternative location for the deportation center on Lindholm.
  • Resettled refugees: If the refugee influx remains low a year from now, Denmark will recommit to take in ‘kvote’ refugees (around 500 resettled refugees).
  • Refugees and education: Refugees with temporary residence in Denmark will receive an opportunity to study beyond high school level. Refugees who have been employed in Denmark for the past two years, will be given the opportunity to remain in Denmark, if they are continuously employed.
  • The economic buffer: The economic buffer (det økonomiske råderum) is a term used to describe the projected surplus in state funds. The government aims to increase the economic buffer by DKK 10 billion to reach its goal to invest in child development, education and upgrading of qualifications as well as fighting poverty and inequality.
  • Tax: The new government will reorganize public spending and implement targeted tax increases, including revoking the former government’s inheritance tax relief for company heirs.
  • Employment: The government aims to increase employment, but it is not clear to what degree it seeks to do so.
  • Pension and retirement: The new government will continue to implement the former government’s agreement on early retirement for specific groups.

To read the full agreement, click here (in Danish).

Today, outgoing Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen will formally announce his resignation to H.M. Queen Margrethe II. At 14:00, Mette Frederiksen will officially be announced as Prime Minister by H.M. the Queen. Mette Frederiksen is expected to announce her Cabinet within the next few days.

Sources: ‘Retfærdig Retning for Danmark’, Berlingske, Altinget