New coalition government wants a “freer, richer and safer Denmark”

Lower taxes, restrictive asylum laws, cutting student grants – the new coalition government releases a liberal and conservative platform

The minority Liberal Party government has given way for a three-party coalition today. Liberal Alliance (LA) and the Conservative People’s Party (Konservative) have joined together with Venstre in a coalition government under a broad conservative and liberal platform.

The trekløver government – referencing the clover’s three leaves – released its platform this afternoon, “For a freer, richer and more safe Denmark”.

At the press conference, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre) said the platform should create optimism.

“It values graft and hard work, and reducing the social and economic distance between people. It should ensure that we can hand over a safe country to our grandchildren,” Rasmussen said.

Some of the central points include: promoting economic growth across Denmark, ensuring everyone benefits from globalisation, a more balanced and realistic immigration system, and securing safety.

The decision to invite the two parties into the government was prompted by a political deadlock in the right-wing blue bloc, which provided Venstre with its mandate to rule. The four parties (the new government and the Danish People’s Party (DF)) could not agree on how to shape the government’s 2025 plan, especially over taxation.

READ MORE: Tax and welfare cuts central to 2025 plan

Fewer taxes for all
LA had demanded that the rate of the top tax bracket, topskat, cut from 15 to 10 percent, which DF would not agree to. LA has now dropped this demand, though leader Anders Samuelsen says his party is still fighting for lower taxation.

“We need to significantly reduce the number paying topskat,” Samuelsen said at the press conference.

This ambition is at lease partially realised with the platform stating that “topskat will play a much smaller role” after the government completes an upcoming labour reform.

Liberal Alliance also highlighted the platform’s ambitions to increase labour market participation by 60,000 people, and grow the economy by 80 billion kroner by reducing taxes on businesses and entrepreneurs.

A new welfare programme for the most socially marginalised, the social free card (social frikort), was likely included due to LA. It allows the vulnerable citizens, such as the homeless and addicts, to work small jobs and earn money without paying tax in a much more flexible and unbureaucratic than most work-to-welfare programmes.

READ MORE: The outlaws’ attorney

A new asylum system
Konservative are the smallest of the three governing parties and arguably have the most to lose by joining the government. They are polling at around three percent, only one percentage point above the threshold for entering parliament.

On their website they highlight their imprint on the platform, such as strengthening the police force, raising the sentences for violent crime and strengthening the military.

They also highlight their influence on the new government’s refugee and immigration policies. While the government still wants to ensure highly qualified labour can come to Denmark, they want to make it harder to seek asylum in Denmark.

READ MORE: Competition for right wing votes heats up

“The government, together with likeminded European partners, will work for a system in which you can seek asylum from a a third country, rather than at the border of a European country,” the government writes in their platform. “We need to move away from a system that preferentially treats asylum seekers who have money and resources, and who support the cynical livelihoods of people smugglers.”

The government also wants to tighten family reunification laws, make it harder to earn unemployment benefits, and establish an international conference to examine whether the European Convention on Human Rights can be reformed.

READ MORE: The burden of rights

Ambitious climate policies
The climate also got a mention. While the government wants to remain a leader in the transition to a sustainable economy, it should not have a negative impact on the economy.

“Our climate efforts should create, not cost jobs,” they write. “The government wants the most possible climate for our money.”

Denmark has already achieved the EU’s 2030 target of 27 percent of energy produced from renewable sources, and instead want 50 percent of Danish energy produced renewably by that date.

Politiken newspaper has already identified 10 of the most important points in the platform. Here they are:

  1. Lower public growth. The new government will grow the size of the public sector by 0.3 percent per year. The 2025 plan originally set 0.5 percent.
  2. Moving state jobs. They will continue the minority government’s promise to move around 4,000 state jobs away from urban hubs.
  3. Lower taxes. Reducing taxes for low income families. Future plans to reduce taxes on the wealthiest.
  4. Freezing property taxes. Expected rises to property taxes are scrapped.
  5. Climate and environment. Continue Denmark’s leading position in sustainable energy transition. 50 percent renewable energy by 2050.
  6. Reforming freedom of information law. The latest law has been widely condemned for limiting access to government communications. They will look into ways of reforming it.
  7. Reforming international conventions. Creating international momentum to reform the human rights convention.
  8. Privatising TV2. The channel is the largest after the state broadcaster DR, and will be privatised in 2018, to ensure that government doesn’t own companies that directly compete with the private sector.
  9. Reducing student grants. A major element in the 2025 plan, the government will continue plans to reduce student grants SU, and convert a portion into a loan.
  10. Military investment. Focus on cyber defence, tackling terror, and intelligence agencies.

READ MORE: Denmark is rich enough


By Peter Stanners

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

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