Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Liberals’ Løkke Rasmussen forms small minority government, publishes work plan

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 30th June 2015

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the leader of Venstre, the Danish liberals, has formed a small minority government of 17 ministers, who took office yesterday. The government has published its work plan and used its first day in office to reinstate a tax credit scheme for homeowners making improvements or getting maintenance and gardening work carried out.

Following several days of negotiations with other parties, mainly with the Danish People’s Party, the Conservatives and the Liberal Alliance (the other three parties in the blue bloc on the right), after the parliamentary election on 18th June, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the leader of Venstre, the Danish liberals, has formed a small minority government of 17 ministers, who took office yesterday.

With just 34 seats out of the 179 in Folketinget, the Danish parliament, Løkke Rasmussen and his party must negotiate with other parties to find a majority position in most legislative areas – aptly illustrated yesterday afternoon, when Claus Hjort Frederiksen, the new minister of finance, announced that Venstre, the Danish People’s Party (DPP) and the Conservatives, on the right wing, had agreed with the Socialist People’s Party (SF), on the left wing, and the centre-left party the Alternative to reinstate a tax credit scheme, killed off by the now deposed Social Democratic-Social Liberal coalition government from 1st January 2015, for homeowners making improvements or getting maintenance and gardening work carried out. The scheme will be changed later this year, however, so it has a greener profile in the future and will also apply to people who rent their accommodation, pleasing SF and the Alternative.

Parliament will be recalled this week for a brief session when the new government will also table a bill with measures – predominantly financial – to make Denmark a less attractive target for asylum-seekers and refugees. The aim is to reduce the number of people coming to Denmark for asylum.

Something that DPP and the parties in the blue bloc agree on, this will be accompanied at some time by a ‘pronounced strengthening of the control at the borders’ in order to fight crime and illegal immigration, another political requirement from DPP that forms part of the new government’s work plan.

The government also plans to reduce income taxes, to make it more attractive for people to work, and it will not increase other taxes. It will introduce a cap on certain transfer incomes to the unemployed, measures to encourage people not currently saving in a non-state pensions scheme, and measures to speed up diagnosis and initial treatment of illnesses.

A referendum on the Danish opt-out on justice and home affairs in the European Union, planned by the previous government, will be bought forward and will be held before Christmas 2015.

A commission currently looking into the background for Denmark’s participation (under Venstre’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen in 2003) in the USA-led military invasion of Iraq, and the behaviour of Danish troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be disbanded. They money saved will be earmarked for improvements to the conditions of Danish veterans.

The government will also appoint ‘an experienced, respected person with international views’ to find strategic ways of coordinating Denmark’s policies in security and defence, foreign affairs, trade and development aid.

Danish development aid will be cut to 0.7% of gross national income from 0.85%, and the number of countries to receive the aid will be reduced.

Click here for the list of ministers (in Danish) in the new government.

Danish Liberal leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen fails in first try at forming government

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 22nd June 2015

Lars Løkke Rasmussen the leader of Venstre, the Danish Liberal party, admitted yesterday afternoon that he had failed in his first attempt at forming a new government; new discussions with other parties will continue in the coming days.

Rasmussen was charged by Queen Margrethe II with forming a four-party coalition, with the Conservatives, Liberal Alliance and the Danish People’s Party, with the aim of forming a government with 90 seats following the parliamentary election on Thursday.

Today he was charged with trying to form a government with fewer parties and seats, although such a narrowly based government must negotiate with the other parties in both the blue and the red blocs to prevent a situation where his government comes into a minority.

If a Rasmussen-led government faces opposition that can muster 90 seats – out of the 179 seats in the Danish parliament, Folketinget – he risks a vote of no confidence and a new election.

Currently, the blue bloc has 90 seats, while the red bloc has 89 seats after the voters in Greenland and on the Faroe Islands elected a total of four representatives, all from parties allied to the red bloc; however, they rarely take part in debates and votes in the Copenhagen parliament that do not relate directly to their communities.

Observers see stumbling blocks in the differing policies of Venstre and the Danish People’s Party on the EU, immigration, welfare and public sector funding, but the two parties’ combined strength – the Danish People’s Party’s vote share rose to 21.2%, up from 12.3% at the last election in September 2011, giving them 37 seats, up from 22; the Liberals’ vote share fell to 19.5% from 26.7% in 2011, giving them 34 seats, down from 47 – may be sufficient motivation for them to work around their differences.