The ongoing budget negotiations took several dramatic turns on Tuesday as the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (Socialdemokraterne), held meetings with the opposition parties and seemed to inch closer to a “red” budget with support from left-wing party Enhedslisten (EL).
After afternoon negotiations with Corydon, Peter Christensen, the financial spokesperson for Venstre (V), said the finance minister had presented an ultimatum to V and the Konservative (K) that the opposition parties could not support.
“As it stands now, it would suit the finance minister to say that he has thrown us out,” Christensen said to DR News.
According to DR News, the government’s proposal to VK included dropping both the sugar and fat taxes – which the opposition parties, and several business groups, have long argued should be scrapped – as well as agreeing to drop a proposed law change that would mean that Danes who work abroad for more than 183 days a year would be forced to pay Danish taxes from their earnings, an expense they have been previously exempt from.
But for V-K, it wasn’t enough to secure the parties' support for the budget.
“The government had a suggestion to finance the scrapping of the fat and sugar taxes by, among other things, raising bundskatten [the bottom tax rate],” Christiansen told DR. “We asked if the government is prepared to negotiate on that, and the government is not.”
Although Venstre and the Konservative now feel they’ve been “thrown out”, another key opposition party, Dansk Folkeparti (DF), continues to negotiate with the coalition parties.
After DF’s chairman, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, met with Corydon this afternoon, he told DR News that the two sides were still working on an agreement.
“The government has come with their suggestion for finding the money [to finance the removal of the fat and sugar taxes],” Dahl said. “We are considering it, and we have asked the government to consider our suggestions.”
Corydon told DR that his meeting with DF was positive.
“It was certainly more constructive than what we got from Venstre,” he said.
Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported late on Tuesday that its sources indicated that the Socialdemokraterne-Radikale-Socialistisk Folkeparti government will now look to secure a budget deal with far-left support party EL, a party that has frequently threatened to not support a budget if various demands were not met. Less than one month ago, the government seemed prepared to stiff EL in favour of cutting a budget deal with V.