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Danish Social Liberals press for more foreign labour in government talks

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish Social Liberals press for more foreign labour in government talks
Martin Lidegaard, Katrine Robsøe and Samira Nawa (R) of the Social Liberal party at parliament on Thursday. The party wants Denmark to attract more foreign labour. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The centre-left Social Liberal party, a potential partner in a new coalition government, says it wants Denmark to increase its foreign workforce.

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Thursday’s talks over a new Danish government focused on the economy,  including how ongoing inflation should be responded to.

The Social Liberals, a financially liberal party which is progressive on social issues, wants more foreign labour to help bolster the economy be easing a labour shortage that is currently affecting the private and public sectors.

“It is still far too difficult for Denmark’s businesses to bring foreign labour to Denmark. There are trip wires everywhere, and we have a whole catalogue of proposals,” Social Liberal leader Martin Lidegaard said ahead of talks on Thursday.

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“But this is actually also about the foreign labour we already have in Denmark, which is sitting and twiddling its thumbs at asylum centres or waiting for permission for family reunification with a Danish citizen,” he said.

“Today [under current rules] they are not allowed to work. Why is that?”, he said.

READ ALSO: How the dizzying cost of family reunification keeps Danes and foreign partners apart

The Social Liberals are one of three parties – the others are the Moderates and the Social Democrats – to be actively pursuing a centrist coalition government following last week’s election.

Because the Social Democrats are the largest party and their leader, caretaker prime minister Mette Frederiksen, is leading the talks, such a government remains a likely outcome of the election despite being a rare occurrence generally in Danish politics.

Earlier this week, Lidegaard said he wanted a new government to include the parties behind the “national compromise” political agreement from March this year. The agreement was backed by parties spanning the left and right of the Danish political centre.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s Social Liberal party calls for 'national compromise' government

“Maybe the most important message today is: Let’s get the negotiations progressing and try to create a strong, Danish broad government,” Lidegaard said on Thursday.

Currently, 11 of the 12 parliamentary parties remain involved in talks. Only the national conservative Denmark Democrats have so far withdrawn.

“In a way, there’s something very beautiful about the fact that everyone is still there and wants to be part of the process. But it’s certain that at some point, of course we have to move forwards,” Lidegaard said.

READ ALSO: Is there any progress on talks to form Danish government?

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