The island of Bornholm desperately needs assistance from the state to help it stop haemorrhaging business and jobs, according to its mayor, Winnie Grosbøl (S).
Along with slaughterhouse giant Danish Crown, and other businesses on Bornholm, Grosbøl has written a letter to the transport minister, Magnus Heunicke (S), pleading with him to approve state support to reduce the high costs associated with ferrying goods to and from the island.
“We are moving a little too close to the cliff edge. We don’t need a tunnel or a bridge, but a ferry that is affordable. It is imperative for the island that Christiansborg understands that,” Grosbøl told Politiken newspaper.
“If we reduced the ticket prices on our ferries, we could attract more business and develop our own food product and tourism industry, allowing us to become more self-sufficient."
The letter conveyed that Bornholm Council and Danish Crown don’t want state support to run business on the island, but instead want traffic equality so that it costs the same to sail as it does to drive a kilometre.
A bonnie wee plan
The Bornholm group wants the state to subsidise the cost of ferry travel to Bornholm for passengers and cargo – a commitment that will cost it 70 million kroner annually.
The state already spends about 200 million kroner every year on the ferry service to Bornholm, and Grosbøll points to Scotland where the country has made sure water transport is equal to land transport.
“We can see that the Scottish islands have experienced a boost because passenger numbers have increased by 20 to 30 percent,” Grosbøll said.
Kenn Ivan Kjellberg, the Bornholm head of industrial advocates,Dansk Industri, agreed. While the politicians recently agreed to shell out 28 billion kroner on improving the railway infrastructure on the mainland, he said, Bornholm was completely forgotten.
According to recent employment analysis by the Economic Council of the Labour Movement, Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd, Bornholm is the only part of the country in which employment is expected to keep dropping over the next two years.