Energy plan on the rocks as opposition leaves talks

Despite cutting the cost by one billion kroner, opposition parties refuse to accept energy plan which could hit the pockets of ordinary Danes

Opposition party Venstre (V) walked out of energy negotiations with the government after only 16 minutes yesterday due to disagreements about the 4.6 billion kroner price tag of the government’s proposed plan.

The plan is designed to end DenmarkÂ’s reliance on fossil fuels and produce half of the nation’s energy from windmills by 2050, but Venstre and its opposition ally Konservative (K) want the government to cut an additional billion kroner before signing on.

The climate minister, Martin Lidegaard, has already brought the cost down from 5.6 billion kroner in order to secure the agreement of the opposition for the energy plan, which traditionally passes with cross-aisle consensus.

But speaking after the meeting, Venstre finance spokesperson Per Christiansen said it was still too expensive and they would not agree to anything costing more than 3.6 billion kroner.

”There are many employers and businesses who are saying that we are already having trouble remaining competitive,” Christiansen told Ritzau.

Lidegaard told Politiken newspaper that he was “astonished” by the opposition’s behaviour after they walked out, but added he had not ruled out cutting the plan further.

“Finding that much money is not easy; we’re talking about a lot of money,” Lidegaard told Politiken. “But you should never say never. You won’t get me drawing a line in the sand here.”

While V and K are playing strong cards, the first party to formally leave the negotiations was Liberal Alliance, citing concerns about the planÂ’s effect on businesses.

“The government wants to introduce even more energy taxes which will cost exports and workplaces,” Liberal Alliance energy spokesperson Villum Christensen told Ritzau in November.

The plan has not been universally condemned however, and business lobby group Dansk Erhverv has stated they support the plan as it gives businesses plenty of time to adapt to the changes.

“From a business perspective, governmentÂ’s plan is acceptable as the phasing in is stretched out over time,” Bo Sandberg, chief economist of Dansk Erhverv, told Ritzau.