• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Danish NGOs slam aid cuts in budget proposal
Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen. His sign reads: "Where will the money come from?". Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix

Danish NGOs slam aid cuts in budget proposal

The Local · 29 Sep 2015, 14:39

Published: 29 Sep 2015 14:39 GMT+02:00

Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen presented the Danish government’s budget proposal on Tuesday. The plan increases spending in the health sector while making cuts in the areas of green initiatives, childcare and development aid. 
 
Cuts in the latter category will amount to Denmark spending 2.3 billion kroner less on development aid at a time when the government has repeatedly said that it would rather help more people abroad than accept refugees into Denmark. 
 
The proposed cuts would bring development spending down to 0.7 percent of the nation’s gross national income, matching the United Nation’s minimum recommendations. Denmark previously spent 0.87 percent of its income on foreign aid. 
 
Leaders of Danish aid organizations expressed their disappointment in the government’s direction. 
 
“Bloodbath in Danish development aid – reduced by one third in [the 2016 budget],” Danish Red Cross  General Secretary Anders Ladekarl wrote on Twitter:
 
“WHAT? [The budget] reduces efforts in surrounding countries from 2.3 billion in 2014 to 1.1 billion in 2016 - was it all just talk?” he later tweeted:
 
The government characterized its development spending as a refocusing of priorities and said it will actually be spending more, not less, on foreign aid. 
 
“In the future, we want to prioritise countries and regions from where people leave in search of a better future in Europe. We want to focus on combating the root causes of migration, and especially contribute to efforts in areas affected by conflict and displacement in the Middle East and Africa. This will also entail maintaining the historically high Danish contribution dedicated to humanitarian efforts and the world’s refugees. In fact we will increase our humanitarian contribution with DKK 50 million in 2016”, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said in a ministry press release. 
 
Ladekarl however said the government’ claim was pure “spin”.
 
“The efforts are not being increased by 50 million – compared with actual usage, the help will fall by 492 million between 2014 and 2016,” he tweeted. 
 
Jonas Keiding Lindholm, the head of Save the Children Denmark (Red Barnet) sided with Ladekarl and wrote on Twitter that cuts to his organization mean that “180,000 vulnerable children had their futures stolen today”. 
 
In a press release, Save the Children wrote that the 15 percent cut to its budget will mean it will be able to help far fewer children than it does today. 
 
“The government’s proposal sends a completely wrong and unwise signal to the world around us. As one of the world’s richest countries, we still can afford to make an extra effort for the world’s most poorly-positioned children. And we should do that,” Lindholm said. 
 
In introducing the budget, Frederiksen said it was the result of a series of tough decisions. 
 
“If we want to prioritize new areas, we need to find the money elsewhere. That is not an easy point of departure,” he said. 
 
The finance minister also defended cuts to development aid by saying the money would be redirected to Denmark’s own citizens. 
Story continues below…
 
“Denmark absolutely takes its share of responsibility but we can still free up 2.3 billion kroner to, for example, help senile and weak elders. That is, as I see it, the right prioritization,” he said. 
 
Other highlights of the government’s draft Finance Act for 2016 include:
 
• An additional 2.4 billion kroner to the healthcare sector and increased focus on elderly patients
• Cuts to the benefits received by refugees and introducing new restrictions on family reunification cases and permanent residency
• Saving 340 million kroner by dropping a number of ‘green’ initiatives
• Cutting 1.4 billion kroner from government-funded research projects
•  150 million kroner a year toward a growth package meant to increase jobs outside of the nation’s largest cities
• 75 million kroner a year to initiatives meant to make it easier for farmers to operate in Denmark
• A scrapping of the previous government’s plan to increase spending in the nation’s daycare centres

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Seagulls 1, Aarhus 0
Aarhus's Hitchcockian nightmare will continue. Photo: Stefan W/Flickr

Officials in Denmark’s second city declared an all-out war on seagulls earlier this year. They lost.

Russia lashes out at ‘hostile’ Denmark
Russia's ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin. Photo: Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Denmark

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark accused the Danes of being “hostile” and “anti-Russian” in an interview published on Friday.

Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Danish economy set for ‘historically’ low growth
File photo: Scanpix DK

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and independent experts suggest that the Danish economy is likely to be one of Europe’s slowest growers over the coming years.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
National
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
National
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Society
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
National
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
National
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
International
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
Culture
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Society
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
National
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
2,287
jobs available