MEET THE CANDIDATES – The Alternative and Liberal Alliance

On November 21, the Municipal and Regional elections are being held across Denmark. More than 360,000 internationals are eligible to vote. Up until the election, we will publish Q&As with the mayoral candidates in the Copenhagen Municipal election. Sadly, we don't have space to cover the five regional elections, or the contests in the other 97 municipalities around Denmark. But we hope that these answers will offer insights into how the parties think

Niko Grünfeld – The Alternative (Alternativet)

What is the biggest challenge facing Copenhagen today?

The environmental crisis is global by nature, and the number one political challenge in my opinion. For many politicians and citizens, CO2 neutrality is an overarching aim for Copenhagen, but I believe we need higher expectations and aspirations. We must seek to make a positive environmental impact, so that our city becomes the best city for the world.

What can City Hall do to reduce gang crime?

We need to give children and young people the space to seek healthy activities in their spare time and create a more inviting society where gang-related culture and communities are less attractive. So far, we have not been able to provide young people with enough settings where they can apply their energy to meaningful activities. We therefore need comprehensive action with multiple actors to create alternatives to the communities of criminality and violence, create mentor projects for the socially marginalised and reform our housing policies to counter ghettoisation.

READ MORE: VOTE! Everything you need to know about the 2017 local elections

Are climate and environmental issues prioritised highly enough by City Hall?

Copenhagen must position itself globally at the absolute forefront of innovative and green solutions. I believe that green policies need to pervade all other areas of politics: traffic, entrepreneurship, education, health, housing and so forth. I can hardly think of an area of politics where sustainable solutions are not beneficial or relevant. It is of utmost importance that we preserve the Amager Fælled common. We need more sustainable energy sources like solar power. We also need less polluting traffic, to reduce food waste, and to increase the number of green urban spaces.

What can be done to make Copenhagen a better city for businesses and entrepreneurs?

Copenhagen holds great potential for inspiring the inventiveness of social entrepreneurs, but as a serial entrepreneur, I know that we need to cut away some of the bureaucracy. New start-ups face a minefield of permits, applications, licenses and taxation across multiple administrations. This, I believe, can be streamlined through already established measures, such as Business House Copenhagen, where entrepreneurs can get optimal guidance and help dealing with the municipality. We also want to experiment with micro-loans and alternative crowd funding, and create 10-year-long business-related PhD positions.

READ MORE: International voters don’t know their rights

What can be done to better support the city’s most marginalised citizens?

We just launched a new policy for the homeless and socially marginalised. This is something we are proud of, as it was established in collaboration with relevant organisations working at street level as well as with 50 homeless people. We suggest that the municipality grant personalised budgets for socially marginalised citizens. We believe in trust rather than control. The individual budgets are to be given without any conditions, only guidance and aid when needed and asked for. We will work towards having caseworkers permanently assigned to the most socially marginalised, with more flexible and tailor-made help depending on individual circumstances.

What are your party’s ambitions for the next four years?

We aspire to spark and drive a new political culture. Trust in democracy and politicians is under scrutiny, so we need to invite Copenhageners to co-create the policies that influence their life. We want to introduce the Copenhagen mandate that gives residents the opportunity to propose policies and actions through digital voting and ensure sure that the city’s residents have an enhanced influence on public life between elections.

Alex Vanopslagh – Liberal Alliance

What is the biggest challenge facing Copenhagen today?

Ensuring that the city’s services actually work, both for the most socially marginalized as well as for the breadwinners of our city who toil everyday to keep it all running. The city currently spends far too much on frivolous stuff that benefit only the well-paid consultants who work on it. The Liberal Alliance is running on a comprehensive plan that seeks to cut taxes substantially by 2025, reduce spending on frivolous stuff and increase funding for activities that help the marginalized people of our city.

What can City Hall do to address to lower gang crime?

Taking the gloves off when it comes to ensuring law and order. No more leniency towards hardened criminals or subsidizing their activities, as has been the case with the publicly funded Folkets Hus (The People’s House) in Nørrebro, which on several occasions was used by the Loyal to Familia gang. We also need to look at loosening our policy regarding narcotics – hopefully and eventually by legalizing marijuana and other drugs – but that has to be carried out together with parliament to be effective

Pick up a copy of The Murmur here!

Are climate and environmental issues prioritised highly enough by City Hall?

They hardly talk about anything else. But climate and environmental issues are not an end to themself, as the left-wing parties controlling City Hall claim, but a means. It is about ensuring that Copenhagen is a city with good conditions for a decent and good life, and of course such policies play an integral part. But Copenhagen already has too many hair-brained environmental schemes enacted without regard for the real life costs and benefits they create.

What can be done to make Copenhagen a better city for businesses and entrepreneurs

Our 2025 plan includes substantial tax cuts to both individuals and businesses, and we are dead set on removing barriers to businesses and entrepreneurs – while the left-wing parties are all too keen to create more. It it also a matter of ensuring that Copenhagen is open to traffic by cars and vans, which are indespensible to most businesses.

To read the PDF of the latest issue, click here!

What can be done to better support the city’s most marginalised citizens?

We need to ramp up support for additional hostels for the homeless as well as facilities for drug addicts to safely consume their drugs instead of hounding them. We need to look into more temporary housing solutions in containers, and we need a fresh perspective on all of social policy after too many years with far too many scandals and too little action.

What are your party’s ambitions for the next four years?

We hope to make Copenhagen a better city to live in – for everyone, especially people working hard to keep the city running everyday. Copenhagen must not be turned into a ghetto for the creative class.


By Peter Stanners

Co-founder and Editor-in-chief. Occasional photographer.

Facebook comments