Despite promises made during the general election campaign in June, politicians won’t be guaranteeing lower prices for ferry transportation to small islands in Denmark.
The newly-appointed interior minister, Karen Ellemann, stated after a meeting with the mayors of five Danish islands – Læsø, Fanø, Ærø, Samsø and Bornholm – that there may not be money in the state budget to subsidise the fares.
“I have not given any promises. We must first look at how much money there is in the budget for new initiatives. I need to be sure that we can afford it,” Ellemann told TV2.
The minister acknowledges the current ferry prices are very high and have impacted on how many people visit the islands.
The islands’ mayors propose to introduce a so-called road principle, so that the fares would cost the same as it would to take the same journey by car.
An analysis done for the previous government estimated this solution would cost the state budget up to 281 million kroner a year.
Prior to the June elections, Ellemann’s colleague at Venstre – the current transport minister, Hans Christian Schmidt – told TV2 Bornholm that “we will go for the road model and find funding for it”.
Meanwhile, the transport spokesman for Enhedslisten, Henning Hyllested, believes “Venstre would let the island municipalities down if they didn’t help improve the transport opportunities to and from the islands, as promised.”
“It would significantly contribute to growth, especially in the tourism industry, and thus create jobs,” he contended.