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2022 DANISH ELECTION

Six parties expected to continue in Danish government negotiations

Although 11 Danish political parties are still part of acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s negotiations to form a new government, a commentator predicts the field to be reduced to six parties on Wednesday or soon after.

Six parties expected to continue in Danish government negotiations
The Red Green Alliance is among parties not expected to remain in talks over the new Danish government beyond this week, according to a political commentator. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

In addition to the Social Democrats (Frederiksen’s own party), the Liberals (Venstre), the Moderates, the Socialist People’s Party (SF), the Conservatives and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) will continue with the process, political commentator Hans Engell predicts.

Of the 12 parties elected to parliament in the November 1st elections, only one party – the national conservative Denmark Democrats – has so far quit the talks.

That has left a broad range of parties spanning both the right and left wings still involved in negotiations with Frederiksen, who was nominated as the ‘royal investigator’ or kongelig undersøger responsible for attempting to form government.

Traditional ‘red bloc’ or left wing parties won a single-seat majority in the election, but Frederiksen is attempting to form a coalition government across the centre, potentially including traditional rivals and second-biggest party the Liberals.

READ ALSO: What would Danish centre coalition mean for conservative ‘blue bloc’?

Engell said he expects the Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), a party within the traditional red bloc, to leave negotiations — and that could spell trouble if Frederiksen’s plan to form a broad government with the Liberal Party crumbles. 

“My guess is that the government will take a break to think things over after the first rounds of talks with all parties. And then a smaller group of parties will be concentrated on,” Engell told news wire Ritzau.

“That means there will be six parties who will participate in ongoing negotiations. And there will be six parties who no longer participate. And the parties which aren’t there any more will include fringe parties like the Red Green Alliance, Alternative and Nye Borgerlige,” he said.

The first two parties mentioned by Engell are left-wing parties with socialist and environmentalist ideologies, respectively, while the latter party is a right-wing anti-immigration, libertarian party.

Like the Social Democrats, the Moderates and Social Liberals favour a centre coalition.

The Liberal party 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.

In a speech during the conference, Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said his party must “stand on its own accord” and that there was “not a unified conservative project amongst the blue parties”.

The Liberals are the party on which the success of the plan to form a centrist government hinges, according to Engell.

“If the Liberals and Social Democrats don’t reach an arrangement then it’s hard to see what other form of partnership could be optimal,” he said.

Frederiksen must not sever ties with the Red Green Alliance entirely, he warned. The left-wing party won 9 seats in parliament at the election, with Alternative taking 6.

“The Red Green Alliance must be out, but not so much that they can’t be brought back in if it turns out to be necessary,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish government: Rasmussen backs coalition with traditional rivals

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POLITICS

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.

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