It was a big day at Christiansborg today as new PM Mette Frederiksen and her government opened Parliament for the forthcoming political year.
As tradition dictates, Queen Margrethe II and Crown Prince Frederik were at hand to witness Frederiksen take the podium for her first opening-of-Parliament speech to reveal her government’s plans for the coming year.
Following the approval of Henrik Dam Kristensen (Socialdemokratiet) as the new speaker of Parliament – a position that Pia Kjærsgaard (Dansk Folkeparti) held for the past few years – Frederiksen took the stage for the most important speech of her career.
After opening with a commentary about how Denmark has progressed recently, the PM launched into how the Danes need to improve certain areas of strife and struggle. She was quick to underline that key aspects of the government’s plans rested on the climate and welfare.
Welfare was a significant aspect of the PM’s election platform, and in today’s speech she pledged to do everything in her power to re-introduce the right to an early pension for those most worn-out by their jobs.
Frederiksen also pinpointed resources for the children, police and elderly as areas that needed to be improved, and she pledged that the government would spend billions more to rectify the situation – although she admitted that many might not reap the benefits immediately.
“I pay my tax in the belief that you pay yours. I pay for your doctor’s visit, in the belief that you pay for mine. In Denmark we don’t have gold mines, but we have something more important. We have trust in one another,” said Frederiksen.
Frederiksen focused heavily on climate issues during her General Election campaign last summer, and her speech reflected that.
She said it was time to get everyone involved in the climate battle, both the business (particularly the shipping industry) and public sectors, highlighting that the pension firms had got on board with a billion-kroner pledge recently.
She promised that a climate law will be ready before Christmas and subsequently a climate action plan will be devised.
Integration and immigration
The PM also talked about crime and gangs in Denmark, contending that there was too much crime among immigrants and their descendants.
She did not shy away from integration, maintaining that people coming to Denmark had a responsibility to integrate when coming to the country.
The immigration policy that the government will lead will be stringent, and the authorities will crack down harder on dangerous driving, foreign-fighters and gang crime.
“When you come to Denmark, you have the chance to live in a free, peaceful country with access to free education, free medical aid and the opportunity to work. To benefit from that requires responsibility. If you don’t assume that responsibility, it is a breach in trust,” said the PM.
Commonwealth and Arctic
The PM also broached the subject of the Commonwealth and improving co-operation with Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
That includes doing more to help children who have endured abuse and neglect in Greenland, as well as tackling issues pertaining to the Arctic region.
“We must strengthen everything that defines Denmark. I look forward to working with all of you here in Parliament. We must live up to the hopes we have generated: a safer, more just and greener Denmark,” the PM concluded.
The government will offer more specific action tomorrow when it unveils its full 2020 strategy report.