Danish parties clash over borders in lockdown talks

Danish parties clash over borders in lockdown talks
Liberal Party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said that the tourism industry needed a date for reopening. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix
Denmark's political parties are split over opening the country's borders, with the opposition Liberals arguing that the tourism industry will be crippled until visitors know when they can enter.
“This is an extremely important topic to address. The whole summer season depends on this,” Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said after negotiations between the parties in Denmark's parliament on Wednesday evening. 
 
“There are many tourists who spend the summer in Denmark. If they can't come, then they'll go for a plan B.” 
 
“We need to know if we can accept German and Norwegian tourists. We have a duty to clarify that question,” added Morten Østergaard, leader of the Social Liberal party. 
 
“We need to have a long-term plan stating what order [restrictions should be lifted]. We should not take anything away, ie, the borders, and say that it cannot be included in the discussion.”
 
 
But Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stuck fast to her refusal to include a timeline for reopening Denmark's borders in the talks. 
 
“In my eyes, borders are a whole other chapter in themselves,” she said after the evening's negotiations finished. “We are paying attention to borders, but they're not on my list of priorities.” 
 
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Denmark on March 14 closed its borders to foreign citizens who do not work in Denmark or who are not involved in goods transport, with a few exceptions.
 
Denmark's parliamentary parties on Wednesday evening began negotiations over a political agreement to govern the next second phase of the country's reopening at the Christiansborg Palace, seat of the country's parliament. 
 
The Social Democrat government has proposed that the next stage should involve reopening the entire retail sector, reopening restaurants and cafés, and allowing elder pupils to return to school to some extent. 
 
On Thursday, the negotiations are set to continue at Marienborg, the official residence of Denmark's prime minister. 
 
 

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