• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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
Denmark pays for Panama Papers data on own citizens
Skat justified the purchase by saying it needed to crack down on tax evaders. Photo: Erik Refner/Scanpix

Anonymous source given six million kroner.

Novo Nordisk to cut 500 jobs in Denmark, 1,000 overall
Around half of the cuts will be in Denmark. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Scanpix

Historic firing round for the diabetes medicine giant.

Danish nationalists' 'refugee spray' draws ire
The Danes' Party's spray evoked strong feelings at home and criticism from abroad. Photo: Daniel Carlsen/ Danskernes Parti

A Danish far-right group faced criticism on Wednesday after courting criticism by handing out "asylum spray" to be used against violent migrants.

Denmark falls in international student satisfaction rank
DTU was once again named the best university in Denmark. Photo: NewsOresund/Flickr

UPDATED: Nordic nations once again dominated the annual International Student Satisfaction Awards.

New Copenhagen project will 'try to change the world'
Martin Kæstel and Anja Müller are the driving forces behind think.dk. Photo: Melanie Haynes

A new project based in the Copenhagen district of Østerbro was launched this week to give sustainability proponents power in numbers.

Denmark reverses course on refugee ‘child brides’
An unspecified number of married couples have been reunited in Danish asylum centres. File photo: Bax Lindhardt/Scanpix

Married couples will be allowed to live together in Danish asylum centres even if one party is underage.

Copenhagen tour boat fined over girl’s amputated arm
The tour operator said it had followed all of the rules and the accident is the only one of its kind in 25 years. Photo: Colourbox

Tour boat operator Netto-Bådene was ordered on Tuesday to pay 50,000 kroner for an accident in which a 10-year-old girl had her arm smashed.

Photo gallery
IN PICS: Celebrating Copenhagen beer... in Boston
Danish beer culture took over Boston's City Hall Plaza for the weekend. Photo: Samer Khudairi

A Danish beer party in Beantown? Yep, and The Local had a photographer there to document the happenings.

Danes acquitted of aiding 2015 Copenhagen attacker
The trial of the four men was held under heavy security in Copenhagen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Scanpix

UPDATED: Four men accused of helping a Copenhagen gunman who killed a filmmaker and a Jewish security guard were acquitted on terror charges.

Danish kids among the fittest in the world: study
The study compared kids' 20m shuttle run times. Photo: Mikkel Zibrandtsen/Flickr

Danish kids have some of the highest level of aerobic fitness in the world, according to a recently-released international study.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Danish F-16s part of attack that allegedly hit Syrian forces
International
Danish F-16s part of attack that allegedly hit Syrian forces
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Travel
Copenhagen declared world's most livable city - again!
Record number of Danes leave the church
Society
Record number of Danes leave the church
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
3,000-year-old stinky cheese found in Denmark
National
3,000-year-old stinky cheese found in Denmark
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Why Denmark could be the next 'right to die' battleground
Society
Why Denmark could be the next 'right to die' battleground
Christiania residents shut down Pusher Street
National
Christiania residents shut down Pusher Street
Denmark is locking every door to immigrants
Analysis & Opinion
Denmark is locking every door to immigrants
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Denmark wants it to be even harder to get residency
National
Denmark wants it to be even harder to get residency
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Denmark's asylum numbers hit new low
National
Denmark's asylum numbers hit new low
Denmark 'worst place in the world' for making friends
Society
Expats: Denmark 'worst place in the world' for making friends
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Top Danish tax official fired after scandals cost billions
Business & Money
Top Danish tax official fired after scandals cost billions
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Per capita, Denmark is Europe’s Olympic champ
Sport
Denmark is Europe’s Olympic (per capita) champion
Female jogger left 'near death' in Copenhagen attack
National
Female jogger left 'near death' in Copenhagen attack
EU breathes down Denmark’s neck over bad air quality
National
EU breathes down Denmark’s neck over bad air quality
Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark
Business & Money
Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Society
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves
Sport
Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves
Danish jets have bombed Syria for the first time
Danish jets have bombed Syria for the first time
Danish Muslim graveyard offers to bury French terrorist
National
Danish Muslim graveyard offers to bury French terrorist
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Danish MP: Ban Muslim immigration to Denmark
National
Danish MP: Ban Muslim immigration to Denmark
2,230
jobs available