Danish PM apologizes over bungled negotiations with opposition

Danish PM apologizes over bungled negotiations with opposition
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said she regrets an email which outlined a plan to conduct coordinated media attacks on the opposition Liberal Party during negotiations over municipal budgeting.

The PM has apologized for the content of a leaked e-mail in which the government planned “attacks” on the Liberals via social media and the press during negotiations for a new scheme for state budget redistribution between Denmark’s municipalities.

READ ALSO: How an accidental email has put Denmark's government in a spot of bother

“This is an e-mail that I would like to apologize for,” Frederiksen said during parliamentary debate.

“I would like to stress that it is always the job of the government to provide a good atmosphere for negotiations and such an e-mail cannot be said to do so, so I apologize,” she said.

“I'm not only sorry for the email. If there’s anything to apologize for, it must be the contents of (the email). The Liberals and Social Democrats are both parties that can take part in discussions and be tough with each other,” the PM also said.

The Liberal party had demanded a response from Frederiksen after the mail was accidentally sent last week to a journalist at newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The email outlined strategy for the talks, including a planned attack on the Liberals in the media.

“You must at least expect the prime minister to face up and distance herself from the way some government ministers are negotiating,” finance spokesperson Troels Lund Poulsen said. Political spokesperson Sophie Løhde called the government's tactics a “double-play in disguise”.

Despite its apparently clumsy origins, the matter has the potential to damage the government.

In negotiating with the Liberals, the Social Democratic government is aiming to pass legislation with its traditional political foe. Being able to land agreements across the aisle is key for Mette Frederiksen's minority government, which does not want to solely rely on left-wing parties to pass laws.

 


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