A majority on the City Council has agreed to find the money necessary to establish a new European school in Copenhagen that will probably start accepting students from next summer.
The school will become a reality after completion of the city's budget negotiations this afternoon in which it was agreed that 150 million kroner would be set aside between 2012 and 2028 to help fund the school.
Each year group at the new European school will be divided into three language sections, two of which will offer instruction in both English and Danish, that will run parallel to each other – the city’s 150 million kroner pledge will cover the Danish section.
According to Lars Berg Dueholm, city councillor for the Liberal Alliance (LA), the school will help satisfy some of the demand for international school places in the city.
“We are committed to internationalisation and attracting foreign investment. Creating an international public school in Copenhagen is absolutely at the heart of what we would like for the city,” Dueholm told The Copenhagen Post.
The city will now apply to the EU to establish a so-called type-II European school that will offer free tuition for the children of EU employees. Their fees would be paid by the EU.
Other students will be accepted based on criteria such as whether their parents are or have been internationally employed. The City Council will pay for the fees of Danish primary school students while the Danish state will pay the fees of Danish gymnasium students attending the school.
LA – a libertarian party in favour of limited government and low taxes – helped negotiate the budget along with centrist and left-wing parties Radikale, Socialdemokraterne and Socialistisk Folkeparti.
Fellow right-of-centre parties Venstre and Konservative had left the negotiations due to a lack of consensus over tax cuts. But according to Dueholm, LA remained in order to ensure the school became a reality.
“The Copenhagen Business Taskforce last year pointed out that there was a lack of international school places and so put it back on the agenda,” Dueholm said. “We hope that we can create a public school for expats in the Copenhagen business community, which we know is a top priority for them.”
The government already in March submitted an application of interest, which precedes a formal application, to the EU to open a European school in the city for 900 students from kindergarten to high school – the city estimates that at least 2,000 international school places are needed.
And last December, Industriens Fond, an organisation that makes donations to projects aimed at improving the country's competitiveness, committed 32 million kroner to help establish the European school.
The new school will be connected to the already established Sankt Annæ Gymnasium, with reports suggesting the two schools will be integrated into new premises in the Carslberg district of Vesterbro in 2017.
The school will occupy temporary facilities in the Sydhavn area until then.