Posts Tagged ‘USA’

PM Fogh Rasmussen told US Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to an invasion of Iraq a year before the war

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 3rd July 2015

According to the daily newspaper Politiken, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense in George W Bush’s administration, that Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to a US-led invasion of Iraq a year before that war started.

Politiken says this information is contained in a classified note that it has accessed in the archives of the Prime Minister’s Office. The note minutes a meeting at the Pentagon between Fogh Rasmussen and Wolfowitz on 27th March 2002, when they reportedly discussed Iraq.

At the time, Fogh Rasmussen’s public line was that no decision had been made about possible participation in military action against Iraq.

Fogh Rasmussen apparently told Wolfowitz that going to war would require proof that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed and was developing weapons of mass destruction.

When it tabled a parliamentary motion – B118 – to participate in the invasion in Iraq, however, the Liberal-led coalition government with the Conservatives (and backed by the Danish People’s Party) cited Saddam Hussein’s failure to collaborate satisfactorily with the UN’s weapons inspectors as the reason for going to war.

The motion was adopted by a narrow majority in Folketinget, the Danish parliament, on 21st January 2003.

Whether Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed his comments at the meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, and his possible role as an early member of the US alliance against Saddam Hussein, with Per Stig Møller, the then Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the other members of the government is unclear: Fogh Rasmussen told Politiken that he did not wish to make any comments, while Møller ‘could not recall’ the meeting.

The report in the Danish daily Politiken comes the day after the commission charged with investigating the decision-making process behind Denmark’s participation in the war against Iraq (and later Afghanistan) – and its legitimacy under Danish and international law – was formally closed.

The commission was disbanded by the new Liberal minority government as one of its first acts after it took office on 29th June – according to Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen because ‘sufficient light has already been thrown’ on the decision-making process.

Due to internal disagreements and for other reasons, the commission, set up in 2012 by the coalition government of the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People’s Party, had done little more than collect and read classified documents and prepare a time-line; the first interviews with leading politicians, civil servants and others would have been held later this year.

Click here to read Politiken‘s news story in Danish

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.