SF: Meeting with the queen a waste of time

Leftist party says both ministers’ and queen’s time could be better spent

(photo: Merlijn Hoek)
January 13th, 2012 12:06 pm| by admin

Under the rules of the constitution (grundloven), the entire cabinet must meet with the queen eight to ten times a year to get a royal signature on laws and proposals. These State Council meetings take roughly an hour, but according to coalition partner Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF), it is a waste of time and a relic of a bygone era.

“It takes so much time to read the proposals to each other and hold meetings which have no practical political purpose but take important time from the ministers’ and the queen’s schedules,” said SF political spokesperson Jesper Petersen.

Petersen added that the meetings arenÂ’t necessary or relevant in a democracy.

“It is the people’s representatives in a democratic society that should decide the laws. Time is running out on any remains of the political power the royal family held,” Petersen said.

He made the point, however, that his criticism had nothing to do with his feelings for Queen Margrethe.

“I have deep respect for the Royal Family’s work, and I wish the queen congratulations on her 40th jubilee. But a discussion on whether the time is best used for both the queen and the ministers is not irrelevant.”

PetersenÂ’s suggestion that meeting with the queen was a waste of time were not the first from an SF official.

The environment minister, Ida Auken (SF), created a minor uproar when she said that she was required to meet with the queen more than she thought was necessary. She later met with the queen to explain that she meant no personal affront.

Political blowback against the role of the monarchy could also be seen on Tuesday when several MPs opted to sit out parliamentÂ’s tribute to the queen. All 12 MPs representing the  far-left Enhedslisten, Zenia Stampe of Radikale (R) and vice-chair of a republican organisatio , and Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil of Socialdemokraterne (S) all chose not to be present when the queen was celebrated in Christiansborg.

PetersenÂ’s suggestion to do away with the formal meetings with the queen was roundly criticised by the opposition.

“Denmark has 1,000 years of history with the monarch and with State Councils. SF wants to get rid of that to save one hour a month – no respect for history!” Venstre’s Kristian Jensen wrote on Twitter.

“The State Council represents our history and where we come from – I think we should celebrate that,” Konservative MP Benedikte Kiær said. “I don’t think it’s a good argument that you need an extra hour a month. SF should say outright that they don’t care about our values and our cultural heritage.”

While R spokesperson Marianne Jelved went on record in support of keeping the meetings, S parliamentary group chairman Mogens Jensen said his party is open to looking at the suggestion.

“It’s a worthy discussion to look at whether things should be as they always have been or whether there are new ways of organising the way we work,” Jensen said.

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