‘Mette Frederiksen has changed’: Danish left-wing parties exit government talks

Talks to form a new Danish government appeared to enter a new phase on Wednesday with left-wing parties informed they are no longer part of negotiations.

'Mette Frederiksen has changed': Danish left-wing parties exit government talks
Acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed on Wednesday that the number of parties involved in talks to form a new government has been whittled down to 7. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The left-wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party was present at the prime minister’s offices on Wednesday to discuss climate, environment and green transition policies.

But its lead political spokesperson Mai Villadsen subsequently said she had been informed by acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that the Red Green Alliance was no longer part of the ongoing negotiations.

The Social Democrats intend to form a government with parties from the conservative ‘blue bloc’, Villadsen said.

“Mette Frederiksen has turned her back on the red-green majority,” she tweeted, referring to the one-seat majority gained by the ‘red bloc’ of left-wing and environmentalist parties in the November 1st election.

Frederiksen has “unambiguously chosen the right wing,” Villadsen added.

“A glaring mistake and a new right-leaning Social Democratic party we are now seeing,” she wrote.

The Red Green Alliance was one of three left-wing or centre-left parties which propped up Frederiksen’s minority Social Democratic government from its election in 2019 until the election earlier this month.

The other two parties, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) remain part of negotiations.

The environmentalist Alternative party, another member of the red bloc, has also been ejected from the talks, its leader Franciska Rosenkilde told broadcaster TV2.

The far-right Nye Borgerlige party was also reported to have left the talks on Wednesday but the libertarian Liberal Alliance and national conservative Danish People’s Party remain involved, as do fellow ‘blue bloc’ parties the Conservatives and Liberals.

The Liberal (Venstre) party, the largest in the ‘blue bloc’ conservative group, ruled out governing with Frederiksen prior to the election, but has since moved to a more open stance.

Suggestions the Liberals may be prepared to enter government with the Social Democrats gained momentum following a Liberal party national conference last weekend.

“Confidence [in Frederiksen] is at a very low point when she chooses the blue bloc over the red-green majority,” Villadsen told news wire Ritzau.

She also argued that Frederiksen’s politics have changed.

“This is a new Mette Frederiksen and a very different one to the one who emerged as a left winger in the Social Democrats, who wanted to invest in welfare, and who we have had a good working relationship with in many areas,” she said.

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Faroe Islands renew fishing quota deal with Russia

Denmark's autonomous Faroe Islands have renewed a fishing quota deal with Russia for one year despite Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a local minister said on Saturday.

Faroe Islands renew fishing quota deal with Russia

“The Faroe Islands are totally right to extend their existing fishing agreement with Russia,” the North Atlantic archipelago’s minister of fisheries Arni Skaale told the Jyllands-Posten daily.

He added however that the islands, which are not part of the European Union, condemned “all form of war – also the war in Ukraine” after Russian forces invaded in February.

The agreement has been in place since 1977 and is renewable each year.

It lays out catch quotas for cod, haddock, whiting and herring in the Barents Sea north of Russia for Faroese fishermen, and in waters off the coast of the Faroe Islands for Russian fishing boats.

Dependent on fishing

The autonomous territory is highly dependent on fishing for its income, and the fisheries ministry says the deal with Russia covers 5 percent of its GDP.

Russia has become a key commercial partner of the Faroe Islands since they and neighbouring Iceland fell out with the European Union – including Denmark – between 2010 and 2014 over mackerel and herring quotas.

An EU embargo on Faroese fish harmed the economy of the territory, which then turned to other markets.

“Today we only have free trade agreements with six countries – and not with the European Union,” said Skaale.

“If we cut ourselves off from one of these markets, it could be problematic for the whole of the next generation.”

Alternatives to be considered

Authorities on the archipelago have however said they would think about alternatives to the deal with Russia after local parliamentary polls on December 8.

Last month, neighbouring Norway – a NATO member – and Russia also agreed on catch quotas in the Barents Sea for next year.

Home to some 54,000 inhabitants, the Faroe Islands have been largely autonomous from Denmark since 1948.