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Trust is key word for PM at opening of Denmark’s parliament

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that she would seek to increase trust across all aspects of Danish life as parliament was opened on Tuesday.

Trust is key word for PM at opening of Denmark’s parliament
Princess Benedikte, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Prince Frederik and Queen Margrethe attended the opening of parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

In her speech, the PM said she saw trust as one of Denmark’s most valuable commodities, and one that both could improve public confidence and contribute to economic growth.

Trust has, according to Frederiksen, been under pressure in recent times. As such, the government’s work would aim to promote it, she said.

“We have built a society on trust. With obligations. With rights. In that order. I pay my tax and trust you will pay yours. I pay for your visit to the doctor, trusting that you will pay for mine. We have that solidarity,” she said.

“When we meet in our local areas, or at work, or at parents’ meetings – person to person – we meet in trust. It’s not just hygge, it’s a huge strength,” she continued.

If Denmark is to thrive, several areas of society must be given renewed focus, the PM said.

Early pensions for people who have worked for many years in physical jobs, an area Frederiksen has consistently said she seeks to reform, was named specifically, as was climate.

She criticized the European tax fraud scandal, speculation on the Danish housing market by foreign investors, and excessive directors' bonuses as among the things that have created “cracks in our trust”.

“Large banks which neglected their societal responsibility, even though we looked out for them. The climate crisis. Concern for our very planet and existence,” she added.

The opening of the new parliamentary year means that Danish lawmakers will resume voting on and discussing law proposals in parliament.

The parliament is opened by a traditional opening speech given by the prime minister – somewhat comparable to a US State of the Union speech – in which the PM gives her or his assessment of the situation of the Scandinavian nation as the new political year begins.

The speech is usually attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, who watch from the Folketinget parliament’s Royal Box.

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.

No debate is held on the ceremonial opening day.

READ ALSO: Power shifts in Denmark with the giving of gifts

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POLITICS

Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

Liberal (Venstre) party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has said ambitions “above normal” should be aimed for in talks to form a government across the political centre.

Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

On December 6th, ongoing negotiations to form a government will tie the all-time record for Denmark’s longest ever with the 35-day negotiation of 1975.

But the Liberal party is still holding out for more concessions from Frederiksen and the Social Democrats, its leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said after another major party on the right, the Conservatives, quit the talks over the weekend.

“The Liberals will continue negotiations with the Social Democrats in the coming days,” Ellemann-Jensen wrote on Twitter.

“If the Liberals are to commit to an agreement with the Social Democrats – whether in opposition or in government – the content of that agreement should be above the usual level of political ambition,” he said.

Ellemann-Jensen has cited to changes to the top tax bracket as a party priority, though that’s been a non-starter for the Social Democrats. 

The Liberals also hope to lower inheritance tax as well as income taxes for Denmark’s most modest earners, newswire Ritzau reports.

The withdrawal of the Conservatives means the Liberals are the only party on the right who could realistically enter government with the Social Democrats.

Six of the 12 parties elected to parliament at the election now remain in government talks with the Social Democrats.

These are the Liberals, Liberal Alliance and Danish People’s Party from the ‘blue bloc’ and the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and Socialist People’s Party (SF), from the red bloc side. The centrist Moderates are the final party.

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket?

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