Budget negotiations coming down to wire

Enhedslisten says it is ready to force an election rather than back down from its demands for legal eldercare requriements

The finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (S), will seek to stave off an early election when he meets today with his party’s left-wing ally Enhedslisten in another attempt to reach a budget deal.

Talks yesterday again failed to produce results. After 90 minutes of discussion last night, the two sides spilt up without coming to terms but agreed to meet again today. 

“We presented our demands, and they told us what they had to offer. And that’s all that happened,” Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Enhedslisten’s negotiator, told reporters after the talks broke down.

Disagree over eldercare
Enhedslisten and the government are at odds over whether to make minimum requirements for eldercare legal right, or as the government proposes, allocating an extra billion kroner annual to improve services for the elderly.

Appearing before the budget discussions, Corydon held a press conference with the leaders of the other two coalition members in an effort to pressure Enhedslisten, appeared jointly in public to expressed their hopes the party would back down from its ultimatum.  

A budget must be passed before December 2. Failure to reach an agreement would require an early election to be called. Schmidt-Nielsen said her party, fresh off sweeping electoral gains in local elections, would stand firm on its requirements, even if it resulted in an election being called.

The opposition has criticised the process for taking too long, but Corydon expressed confidence a deadline would be met.