The opening of the new parliamentary year means that Danish lawmakers will once again vote on and discuss law proposals in parliament.
The parliament is opened by a traditional opening speech given by the prime minister – somewhat comparable to a ‘State of the Union’ speech – in which the PM gives his assessment of the situation of the Scandinavian nation as the new political year begins.
The opening speech is usually attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, who watch from the Folketinget parliament’s Royal Box.
The Royal Family at the 2016 opening ceremony. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
After MPs attend a service at the nearby Christiansborg Slotskirke church – which is also used for royal ceremonies – the Queen and other royal family members arrive at parliament for the opening ceremony, where they are received by the Speaker, currently former Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard.
The meeting is traditionally led by parliament’s longest-serving member, today the Liberal party’s Bertel Haarder, who has been an MP since 1981. Formalities including voting for the Speaker, where Kjærsgaard is expected to be re-elected, along with deputy speakers.
Rasmussen will then give his speech.
While there are no predefined expectations as to the content of the speech, the Danish constitution sys that the PM must make his assessment of the state of the kingdom and present some of the government’s initiatives for the coming session.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen gives his parliamentary opening speech in 2016. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
Key issues expected to be discussed in parliament in the coming weeks include the government’s tax-cutting budget proposal, the latest move to ban public wearing of the niqab and burka and the presence of troops at borders and potential terror targets in Copenhagen.
No debate is held on the ceremonial opening day – the nitty-gritty of discussing proposals will have to wait until Thursday.