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Danish Liberal leader aims to ‘build confidence’ in latest talks with Frederiksen

Talks between Denmark’s two largest political parties over a potential new government agreement continued at Prime Minister’s residence Marienborg on Monday.

Danish Liberal leader aims to 'build confidence' in latest talks with Frederiksen
Danish Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on Monday as talks to form a new government progress. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The Liberal (Venstre) party was engaged in talks with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats on Monday afternoon, broadcaster DR reported.

Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said the latest round of talks would focus on the economy.

“We’ve spoken a lot about that so far. It’s a precondition for everything. And we will also talk about a ‘freedom reform’, meaning freeing citizens within our social welfare system. We will also speak about health reforms,” he said in comments reported by DR.

Ellemann-Jensen was also asked about his working relationship with Frederiksen, whom he said he “could not trust” before elections at the beginning of November.

“Confidence is something you must build. We are working on that, so now I will go in and build confidence and have a discussion about the economy,” he said.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

The Liberals, the largest party 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 earlier this month.

After the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedlisten), one of the parties that gave Frederiksen’s red bloc a slim parliamentary majority, was among parties to exit negotiations last week, pressure appears to be building on the Liberals on to find an agreement.

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POLITICS

Denmark’s defence minister takes sick leave following illness

Denmark’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is to take sick leave for an undetermined period, two months after leading the Liberal (Venstre) party into coalition government.

Denmark’s defence minister takes sick leave following illness

The 49-year-old was admitted briefly to hospital last week for “nausea”, just after returning from Ukraine.

“I was eager to go back to work immediately. But now that it’s been a few days I have to realise I’m not ready for this,” he said on Facebook.  “I have been unusually busy for a long time. Now my body is sending me a signal that it’s time to take a break, if not it’s going to end badly,” he said.

“The bottom line is that, on the advice of my doctor, I need to unplug for a while and take leave. And then I will return when I’m ready.”

Economy Minister Troels Lund Poulsen will fill in for Ellemann-Jensen during his absence, the government said.

His absence comes as Danes protest against government plans to abolish a public holiday, Great Prayer Day. The government says the plan will help fund the defence budget.

Ellemann-Jensen has led the Liberal party since late 2019. The party is traditionally the second largest in the Danish parliament and senior member of the ‘blue bloc’ alliance of conservative parties.

It suffered a poor result in the 2022 election with its 13 percent share of the vote representing 10 points less than its vote share in 2019. Ellemann-Jensen subsequently took the party into coalition government with two other parties including erstwhile rivals the Social Democrats.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s Social Democrats in worst opinion poll since 2015

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