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Poll
Question: Will Iceland and Norway ever join the EU?
Iceland, but not Norway   -19 (12.9%)
Norway, but not Iceland   -11 (7.5%)
Both   -36 (24.5%)
None of them   -81 (55.1%)
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Total Voters: 147

Author Topic: The Great Nordic Thread  (Read 138473 times)
Lord Halifax
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« Reply #1000 on: October 04, 2017, 03:46:42 pm »

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« Reply #1001 on: October 06, 2017, 06:24:55 am »

Bye bye Burqa - the right wing wins internal Liberal battle



After weeks and months of discussions, there is now a clear majority for a so-called masking ban; i.e. a ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public. The issue reemerged in July when the ECHR decided that a similar ban in Belgium was in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Until then, the legality of it had been doubtful, but now the question received new rounds of discussion in the other parties, pushed by a new proposal from DPP to introduce such a ban.

With the Conservatives in favour of the ban and the Liberal Alliance against, attention quickly shifted to the Liberals whose opinion would probably swing the government one way or another. This question made clear the dividing lines in the party on the question of immigrationa and what liberalism exactly is. MPs were making their opinion clear in public, while Lars Løkke has been treading water on this question. However, in the last week or so, it has become clear that the right wing had a majority in the party. The right wing has been personified by immigration spokesperson Marcus Knuth (right in the picture), a former Foreign Service diplomat, army captain and Lehman Brothers economist, who is the son of a well-known count from Lolland. Knuth stated after the German elections that Angela Merkel's immigration policies had been a disaster, and that he was happy AfD entered parliament in style, which would hopefully create a better balance in the German parliament. All this while forgetting to mention the success of the Liberals' official sister party FDP. This caused a tough response from EU spokesperson Jan E. Jørgensen (left in the picture), who has come to represent the left wing in the party. The Frederiksberg lawyer has been a significant player in local politics for a decade, but has risen to somewhat prominence in recent years as the favourite government MP for most left-wingers due to his socially liberal views on immigration. Some have even speculated whether he could follow MEP Jens Rohde to the Social Liberals, but he seems too loyal to the party after decades on intensive involvement.

A number of things probably helped sway the Liberals in the last week or so. A Megafon poll showed that 66% of Liberal voters agreed with a ban, while only 17% was opposed. Yesterday, the Social Democrats decided to support the ban. Finally, the Liberal Alliance has made clear that their opposition to a ban is not very strong; i.e. they would accept voting for a ban, if the Liberals decided so, without a huge fuss.

It will be interesting to see how many MPs end up defecting. Liberal MP Eva Kjer Hansen has already said that she will not vote in favour of the ban, and perhaps a few Liberal Alliance and Social Democrat MPs could do the same. Kjer Hansen was Minister of Agriculture in the Liberal-only government until the Conservatives made her leave due to accusations of fiddling with pollution numbers. Since then she has been quite mad, not less so since the Conservatives entered the government, and makes no attempt to hide it whenever a decision is not in accordance with her Liberal ideals.
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« Reply #1002 on: October 12, 2017, 07:48:25 am »

It seems that the Finnish Presidential election next January will have little excitement, as the incumbent Niinistö still holds a massive lead and is set to win the election on the first round.

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« Reply #1003 on: November 12, 2017, 12:35:49 pm »

Government agrees with DPP and Social Liberals on business package



After a long period with focus on the improved S-DPP relationsship, the government has succesfully lured the DPP back into the fold. First with an agreement on significantly lower car taxes, and now an agreement worth 2 billion DKK (0,3 bln euro) a year to improve conditions for businesses. Furthermore, the Social Liberals was included, so it is a broad deal across the blocs, while the Social Democrats stayed out/were kept out. This could help the government's narrative that the Social Democrats are unambitious and unwilling to cooperate on measures to improve the conditions for growth.

The deal includes a number of different aspects. Around 1/4 of the money is spent on the DPP's main focus; lower fees and excises on beers, sodas, sugarproducts and nuts to decrease the border shopping in Germany. The Social Liberals got measures to improve internet connections, longer periods with lower taxes for highly skilled foreigners, circular economy measures as well as incentives to use environmentally friendly heat pumps for busineses and households. The Liberals continue their focus on growth in remote areas with lower fees for camping sites, harbours, hotels and small producers of food and alcohol.  The main focus for the two smaller government parties have been to create a better "shareholder culture" with easier options to invest in shares and better conditions for those that do. The DPP logically rejected most of these things during negotiations, but the final agreement did include easier ways for businesses to allow employees to be paid in company shares, and the possibility for all citizens to create a "shareholder savings account", where you can keep shares worth max 50.000 DKK (7.000 euro) and pay a lower shareholder tax on value increases.

Around half of the deal is financed by giving less money to funding job centers in the municipalities, where unemployed persons take short courses in job seeking and meet their caseworker, while 400 mio DKK will be saved on less funds to DSB, the state-owned train transport company. The remaining money is saved on a number of small measures.
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« Reply #1004 on: December 08, 2017, 06:44:23 pm »

Government and DPP finally agree on 2018 budget



The government long hoped that they could agree on a mega deal with the DPP that included both the 2018 budget, tax reform and tighter immigration rules. However, as the negotiations resumed after the local elections, the DPP has been very wary of agreeing to this, as they feared too much focus would be on the tax cuts. Instead, leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl has played the role of the responsible statesman and urged the government to split up the negotiations, and agree on next year's budget. The government, and especially Liberal Alliance, wanted one big deal as they fear they would be humiliated if tax reform was postponed for the fourth time in this term, and probably would not give DPP too many concessions in the budget as they doubted whether DPP would ever actually agree to any tax cuts. However, tonight the parties agreed on the 2018 budget, but with a "common understanding" that the marquee tax/migration deal will be in place before christmas. Otherwise, the Liberal Alliance declared that they would not vote in favour of the budget. The 2018 budget in itself focuses on extra funds for the health service and elderly care, educating more police officers and making the house renovation subsidy permanent.
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« Reply #1005 on: December 20, 2017, 10:05:00 am »

Waiting for taxcut - Liberal Alliance humiliated again



The past two weeks, most of the focus has been on the Liberal Alliance-DPP quabbles after the Liberal Alliance stated that they would not support the 2018 budget, which they themself agreed upon as part of the government, if there had not been agreement on a big tax/immigration package before it was voted through. This obviously infuriated DPP and made certain that no such deal could be agreed upon this year. Today the Liberal Alliance then had to make another humiliating climbdown and state that yes they would vote through the budget, despite there not being any tax/immigration package. Yet again, Liberal Alliance leader Anders Samuelsen has acted as an arrogant buffoon, and ended up as a clown. I really wonder whether he will stay as leader much longer. In the polling average, the LA is down at 5.5% from the 7.5% they won in 2015, and that number could easily drop further after this charade.

The tax reform is very important for all three government parties. For Løkke and the Liberals, this is the second (and sweetest) part of their 2015 slogan "Make it pay to work". They have already introduced a cash benefit cap, and the second part should then be lowering taxes on small incomes. Liberal Alliance and Conservatives have conceded that toop tax cuts will not take place, so they really need some tax cuts to show that they have at least gained something on this important area, particularly for the Liberal Alliance. Despite another postponement, it it not unthinkable that there will be some tax/immigration deal in the beginning of next year. The DPP can live with lowering taxes for low incomes, although not using too big an amount of money doing so. However, since the government, particularly the Liberals and the civil service, seems unwilling to contemplate many of the DPP's immigration proposals, which will require some sort of a break with international conventiions and/or the ECHR, an agreement will likely be much more limited in scope than imagined. The immigration part will be small tinkerings to try to deport more criminal immigrants and rejected asylum-seekers, which means that the tax cuts will likely be much smaller than the "historic tax cuts" the government hoped to get.
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« Reply #1006 on: December 21, 2017, 11:37:29 am »

The development in Berlingske's polling average from the end of 2016 (left) to the end of 2017 (right)



The Red Bloc combined has lost 0.8%, so their lead is now 51.1%-48.8% instead of 51.9%-48.0%. Neither of the three big parties has seen much change. It is clear that the government participation has had two different effects on the two small government parties. The Conservative has regained some confidence with three fairly popular ministers (Party Leader and Justice Minister Søren Pape almost always in top3 in minister popularity lists) and some results in areas of justice (and soon defence as well). The Liberal Alliance has acted crazy too many times, their ministers usually fill up all the bottom positions, and they are constantly pulling fights with the DPP which they can't win, especially on the area of reducing taxes for high earners.

Finally, the Alternative has seen the most significant change, and almost all of it has happened after the summer as can be seen in the collection of polls by Erik Gahner below. This is the period in which the internal divisions in the party has come out into the open with both their political spokesperson and group leader (chief whipish) resigning as a result. Cases of sexual assault in the party was revealed, and party leader Uffe Elbæk and his "boy band" of young males have been accused of driving the party with a sexualized culture and too much partying. Elbæk has already said he will resign after the next election, which further intensifies the internal divisions as people are positioning themselves for the top job. Their partial implosion has benefited the other Red Bloc parties a bit each.



The New Right is quite stable in the polling average, but it reflects a large difference between individual pollsters as can be seen in Erik Gahner's collection below. Them being consistently at the 2%-threshold in a period far from a general election, is another reason why I'm fairly certain they will get in, although if the government actually agrees to some significant immigration and asylum policies, the New Right could lose some of its appeal.

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« Reply #1007 on: December 30, 2017, 02:18:52 pm »

Political scientist Mikkel Krogsholm has made this diagram based on answers to a "what should I vote test" by local election candidates for the recent local elections. The horizontal axis shows the traditional economic spectrum (outsourcing, taxes, regulations), while the vertical axis show attitudes to refugees and immigrants. Most of the positions are quite similar to the normal picture. The Social Democrat's local candidates are generally more soft on immigration, and most of the opposition to their tougher immigration line is from local candidates and councillors, not voters nor national backbenchers. The Social Liberals' policies are more right wing on economy that both their voters, party members and local candidates, especially since part of the right-wing ended in the Liberal Alliance.

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Helsinkian
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« Reply #1008 on: January 05, 2018, 01:10:25 pm »

Here is the latest Finland poll. All parties below 20%.

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« Reply #1009 on: January 11, 2018, 05:39:22 pm »

Government gives up on marquee tax/immigration deal - Liberal Alliance leader under fire



After months of negotiations, the government this week gave up on agreeing on a marquee tax/immigration deal with the DPP. The government's goal has been to pursue "historic tax cuts", while the DPP has demanded a "paradigm shift" in immigration policies. The failure to achieve a big deal on these two crucial right-wing policies illustrate the lack of cohesion in the "blue bloc" and scuppers PM Lars Løkke's hope of really delivering on his 2015 election slogan:"Make it pay to work".

According to media reports, DPP was willing to accept tax cuts of around 7-10 billion DKK a year (1-1.3 billion euro) on the first/lowest parts of your income, if they could get a breakthrough on immigration policy. However, it never really seemed like the parties were close to agreement on immigration. Mostly, because the government does not want to challenge/ditch UN conventions/ECHR decisions, but also because DPP's wishes on immigration were too shattered, focused on the areas with the lowest chance of concessions and included a few crazy ideas that overshadowed much else.

When you look at media statements, primarily from before entering government, both the Liberal Alliance and Conservatives are willing to ditch/bend international conventions, although their resolve has arguably been weakened somewhat by entering into government and because their two party leaders lead the two ministries, where the civil service is perhaps the most opposed to the idea (foreign affairs and justice). Nevertheless, the key is that (at least parts of) the Liberals is not willing to contemplate it, and probably also because PM Løkke is afraid of the international criticism that will follow. If the DPP had focused intensively on one or two key issues (stop for asylum applications in Denmark and take consistent, low number of quota refugees insted and/or ditch ECHR ruling that makes it hard to throw out criminal immigrants), it would have been really hard for the government to defend not agreeing to these proposals. Instead, DPP came up with new points each day, and ended up focusing a lot on a demand that refugees without permanent residence should not be integrated (work, learn Danish etc), but instead "learn rebuilding activities" in isolated "refugee towns" to prepare for going home. This was probably a proposal with less popular support than the two above, and it would go directly against a big deal that Løkke agreed upon with the trade unions a year ago to get refugees into the labour market. A reversal of that deal would humiliate Løkke, and cause a big fight with the unions, making it totally inconceivable for Løkke to agree on. Finally, one of the DPP's many proposals was that immigrants below 18 years in ghettos should not be allowed outside their apartments after 20.00 in the evening; something clearly against the Constitutiton and which caused a predictable uproar.

Now that the marquee deal has been cancelled, the parties will try to agree on a minor deals instead on tax (cuts of around 1 billion DKK (0.13 billion euro)) and immigration (smaller, symbolic tightenings), and then turn their focus to defence and culture, where it should be easier to find agreement. However, since a big tax cut is the raison d’être of the Liberal Alliance, this cancellation is seen as a huge humilation for them, and particularly for party leader Anders Samuelsen, who has been unbearably cocky in years about the great tax cuts he could delive, and making fun of Liberals and Conservatives for not getting more of them through. The party is down to 4.8% in the polling average after winning 7.5% in 2015, and the latest poll from YouGov had them a 3.8% as the smallest party in parliament. Newspaper Jyllands-Posten has talked to 54 of 79 Liberal Alliance local leaders, and 11 of them wanted the party to withdraw from the government. The Liberal Alliance Youth has called for the same to happen, which counts for quite a bit in party which dominates among young voters and with many young activists. So far, the parliamentary group seems relatively quiet, and Samuelsen has a special position as party founder, who created the party from nothing. So he is probably not going to be pushed out or forced to take the party out of the government, but perhaps he might leave as leader to try to save the party.
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« Reply #1010 on: January 18, 2018, 06:17:30 pm »

Most of the parties are about to initiate the official process to name candidates for the European elections 2019. This has caused several candidates to announce that they are running, and there are quite a few relatively prominent persons among them.



Søren Gade
, current MP and Liberal Group Leader and former Minister of Defence, is clearly the biggest name, and should give the Liberals a clear boost. He won 28.916 personal votes in the 2015 general election, the fifth heighest of all. He helped/was used by Lars Løkke as a shadow leadership candidate against Kristian Jensen in the 2014 leadership battle in the Liberals. That made him relatively unpopular among the Jensen-wing, and in the end, he wasn't offered a significant cabinet position after Løkke's win in 2015, so he opted to become group leader instead. Current MEP Morten Løkkegaard would like to be the lead candidate, but he belongs to the very pro-EU Liberal wing, which obviously has a narrower appeal. Liberals will be shooting themselves in the foot if Gade is not lead candidate.



Rasmus Nordquist
, current Alternative MP and until recently political spokesperson. Although, he only narrowly won his party's seat in Zealand in the 2015 general election, he has become perhaps the most well-known Alternative MP, aside from party leader Uffe Elbæk. Until the eruption of the internal party battle in the fall of 2017, he was political spokesperson so he had a good platform and participated in many debates. He remains quite active, and his outspoken pro-EU and pro-immigration platform will likely reap significant benefits among young, urban, well-educated voters. Depending on the exact rivals, the electoral alliances and whether the Alternative stays afloat, he should stand a good chance of winning a seat.



The Red-Green Alliance is running for the first time; until now they have simply put their weight behind the People's Movement against the EU. MP Nikolaj Villumsen will try to win that first seat for them, but if he is to succeed, then that is more likely to be due to the party's strength than to his qualities. He is a blend boring speaker, who is quite poor at argumentation. As an incumbent MP and lead candidate in Eastern Jutland, i.e. including Aarhus, in the 2015 general election, he only won 2.338 personal votes despite the party doing very well (7.4%). However, the Red-Green brand is very strong, currently at 8.7% in the national polling average, so he certainly has a chance. But some of the Red-Green voters are pro-EU, and there is a lot of competition on the left wing with Nordquist, Kari and the SPP.


Current MEP for the People's Movement against the EU, Rina Ronja Kari, would like to run again. She started the 2014 European elections out as pretty unknown, but had a decent campaign and ended up being comfortably elected. She manages to get attention once in a while for criticism of austerity in the EU, and lavish EU-projects, but is not a household name. Still, the party is likely to be in an electoral alliance with the Red-Greens, and the far-left will probably be relatively strong. If both of the parties will not get an MEP, I think Kari has a better chance of winning the seat than Villumsen.

There are still a number of unknows. Will current Social Liberal Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, run to be ALDE's candidate for Commission President, if so will she also run as a candidate in the EP elections? So far she has only said, she would like to be a commissioner again, but I think she is likely to run. This could turn things upside down. She would likely attract many of the pro-EU voters, and perhaps even broader than that if she is seen as having a good chance of becoming Commission President. That could give the Social Liberals a historically good election. If she does not run, current MEP Morten Helveg Petersen will likely run again, and it will be touch-and-go whether he would be re-elected.

DPP is still awaiting the OLAF case regarding fraud with EU money, so are laying relatively low. Morten Messerschmidt, who did amazingly in 2014, will not run again, so the lead candidate is likely to be the much less known MEP Anders Vistisen. Their policy positions means that they will ofc do pretty well again, but a 2014 repeat seems unlikely with him as leader. They could lose first place in that case.

The Social Democrats will likely lead with one of their two current MEPs, Jeppe Kofod or Christel Schaldemose, but neither are likely to make big waves. Perhaps a backbench MP will join them on the ticket, but with an upcoming general election they are confident of winning, many MPs would rather go for their chance to become ministers.

The Conservatives have yet to announce a candidate to replace the popular former party leader Bendt Bendtsen, and could get a tough time without another strong candidate. The SPP has not found fresh faces either, but 73-year old MEP Margrethe Auken, first elected in 2004, could perhaps run once again and still has a big personal vote. The Liberal Alliance has so many other problems at the moment. The New Right will likely only run if there is a general election before the campaign starts as they would be automatically eligble to run if elected, otherwise they likely won't be able to collect the signatures to run. The same applies for the Christian Democrats, who is of course much less likely to win seats in the general election.
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DavidB.
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« Reply #1011 on: January 21, 2018, 09:23:21 am »

What is Messerschmidt up to? Always liked him.
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« Reply #1012 on: January 22, 2018, 09:12:33 am »

What is Messerschmidt up to? Always liked him.

After a leave of absense after having being discovered with his hand in the sweet EU cookie jar, he has slowly begun to return back into public, with him writing opinion pierce and being in radio and TV. DPP still treat him as persona no grata until they find out whether OLAF want him to end up before the courts. If he end up before the courts, he will likely be finished in Danish politics. But on the other hand scum like him (and that has nothing to do with his politics) have a tendency to float above water, so he may survive even that.

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« Reply #1013 on: January 28, 2018, 07:36:27 am »

Historic increase in defence budget



For the first time since the Cold War, the Danish defence budget will increase in the years to come. The government has reached an agreement with the Social Democrats, the DPP and the Social Liberals to increase the budget gradually until 2023, where it will be 4.8 billion DKK/0,65 billion euro higher than today. This is an increase of around 20% compared to the current defence budget. The parties in the agreement largely agreed that the defence budget had to be increased, but there were clear differences between how much. DPP and particularly the Conservatives wanted a larger increase, where as the Social Liberals and probably the Liberal Alliance wanted less significant increases. There were also disagreements about how to spend the money. Social Democrats, Social Liberals and Liberal Alliance tended to favour cyber defence structures, while the other parties looked to get more "boots on the ground" and normal military equipment. Similarly, the two Red Bloc parties wanted more funds to peace and stabilization missions, while the Blue Bloc parties tended to focus on the ability to join heavier military missions.
Finally, DPP and Conservatives wanted to double the number of conscripts (currently 4200 a year) and double the term (currently 4 months), while the Liberal Alliance in particular has made clear its opposition to the idea of conscription. The compromise ended at an increase in conscripts of 500 with the same standard term, and an intensified promotion campaign to make sure it's still almost only volunteers (currently 98% are).
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« Reply #1014 on: February 01, 2018, 09:58:08 am »

The grand old man of Finnish politics, the former Centre Party leader Paavo Väyrynen, who founded a new euroskeptic party (the Citizens' Party) in 2016 and who was an independent candidate in the recent presidential election (where he beat the Centre candidate), has announced that he is challenging Prime Minister Sipilä in the Centre's party congress in June.

Despite the fact that he founded a new party, Väyrynen has refused to resign from the Centre Party, and the party has been unable to expel him. (The party rules require that the local party branch expel him but Väyrynen is himself the leader of the Centre Party in his home municipality; the party could expel the local branch but has so far not done so.) The situation is embarrasing for Sipilä, though he is nevertheless favoured to win.

If Väyrynen loses, he will finally resign from Centre and take his seat in the Finnish Parliament as a representative of the Citizens' Party. Väyrynen was elected to parliament in 2015 from the Centre Party but gave his seat to the alternate, preferring to stay in the European Parliament; he can take his seat from the alternate whenever he wants. The alternate who will lose his seat is Mikko Kärnä who has profiled himself on Twitter as a vocal supporter of Catalonia's independence.
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« Reply #1015 on: February 04, 2018, 03:50:50 pm »

Social Democrats want to stop asylum applications in Denmark....perhaps

Tomorrow, the Social Democrats will present their new asylum and refugee policies, but most of the policies have been leaked tonight, and party leader Mette Frederiksen has commented on it to several media as well. The most important new policy is a a proposal to stop the possibility to apply for asylum in Denmark. People who come here applying for asylum will be sent to a center in another country, and if their asylum application is valid, they will be sent on to UN refugee camps. While stopping the possibility for spontaneous asylum applications, the Social Democrats will then want to re-start the previous Danish practice of taking a fixed number of refugees through the UN system. This is of course the most logical and fair way to make a refugee system, but their new policy programme also include passages which means that the above measures in all likelyhood will never lead to anything. The party states that it will abide by international rules and conventions, which makes it all impossible to carry through, unless these rules and conventions are changed significantly, which is very unlikely.

The new proposals are quite smart strategically, as it positions them to the right of the government on this crucial topic. It will be hard for the government to reject this proposal without seeming as soft on immigration. They might try to explain that it can't work if international conventions are to be kept, but that will raise further difficult questions about why the government insists on keeping international conventions instead of introducing a controllable refugee system. There can be some pitfalls about the internal cohesion on this in the Social Democrats, as there will definitely be some, who thinks this is far too right-wing, but maybe they can be placated by the line about international conventions and thereby knowing it will never materialize. Unless something changes radically on the international scene so the conventions can be changed, however, this proposal will in the long term lead to even more distrust in politicians on the immigration topic when promises are made of a new, fair logical system with control of incoming numbers, but it is not carried through.
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« Reply #1016 on: February 10, 2018, 09:17:50 am »

Government gives up on marquee tax/immigration deal - Liberal Alliance leader under fire

After months of negotiations, the government this week gave up on agreeing on a marquee tax/immigration deal with the DPP. The government's goal has been to pursue "historic tax cuts", while the DPP has demanded a "paradigm shift" in immigration policies. The failure to achieve a big deal on these two crucial right-wing policies illustrate the lack of cohesion in the "blue bloc" and scuppers PM Lars Løkke's hope of really delivering on his 2015 election slogan:"Make it pay to work".

Now that the marquee deal has been cancelled, the parties will try to agree on a minor deals instead on tax (cuts of around 1 billion DKK (0.13 billion euro))

This minor tax deal has now been agreed upon. The tax cut ended at arund 1.5 billion DKK, and was then combined with 3.5 billion in tax incentives to make it more worth it to save up for your pension. The picture below shows the consequences for four different income types. The first figure is the yearly tax cut, the second figure is the tax cut + the savings from the pension deal. The two figures below the pics are yearly income, and current income tax paid.



The burqa ban debate carries on, especially internally in many parties, now that a law proposal has been worked out by the Ministry of Justice. The Liberal Alliance has deemed this to be an ethical question, so will not tell their MPs how to vote. Their five ministers will vote for it to support the government, but 7 of 8 regular MPs will vote against it. One Liberal MP and one Social Democrat MP has already announced they will vote against, and a few more will probably join them. However, the proposal will still be approved with a decent majority.
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« Reply #1017 on: February 18, 2018, 07:42:37 pm »

Iceland is banning male circumcision.
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« Reply #1018 on: February 21, 2018, 02:58:08 pm »

Most of the parties are about to initiate the official process to name candidates for the European elections 2019.
The SPP has not found fresh faces either, but 73-year old MEP Margrete Auken, first elected in 2004, could perhaps run once again and still has a big personal vote.

Auken is indeed running again. She has had a quite interesting journey on EU affairs, that probably mirrors many left wingers. She joined SPP on 3 October 1972, the day after Denmark had voted to join the EC, due to her strong Eurosceptic views. Like the party, she saw the EC as a capitalist project. However, she moved towards more positive feelings when the EC started to look like a place to solve transnational problems, particularly regarding environment. So after the Maastricht Treaty, she was heavily pro-EU in a divided party. She was a MP from 1979-1990 and 1994-2004. In 2004, she ran for the EP for the first time as SPP lead candidate, and was safely elected. However, hitherto SPP had been in the far-left GUE group, which includes many Eurosceptic parties, but she wanted to sit in the Green group. Despite a majority in the party's executive committee deciding that SPP should sit in GUE, she decided to join the Green group anyway. In 2009, at the height of SPP's popularity, she won more than 200.000 personal votes, the third-highest that year. The young Emilie Turunen was also elected for SPP, but she belonged to the group of young people around Villy Søvndal, who was hell-bent on influence and power, so when SPP left the government, she joined the Social Democrats and is now a director in Nykredit, a financial services company. Despite the SPP woes in 2014, Auken still safely retained her seat and won more than 150.000 personal votes. The SPP is now members of the European Green Party, and there is no doubt of their belonging in the Green group. The party is almost uniformly pro-EU, although Auken's embrace of the common currency is not yet official policy. She should stand good chances of another re-election. Particularly, if the recent EP proposal of distributing some of the leftover UK seats to other countries is adopted, and Denmark will go from 13 to 14 MEPs.





Most of the news in recent weeks have focused on the illness and then death of the Queen's husband, Prince Henrik. However, there are increasingly solid rumours of a cabinet reshuffle in the spring. The Conservatives are happy with their three ministers. The Liberal Alliance ministers are mostly very unpopular, but they are all the top figures of the party, so I don't really think it would make sense for them with big changes. It could end up "tainting" the whole party with government experience, instead of keeping some from the next generation out of the mess, but maybe they will take a punt. The Liberals will probably like to make a few changes; introduce some fresher faces, particularly political spokesperson Jacob Ellemann-Jensen. The next big policy discussion is likely to be in the media area. The main question is how much the state broadcaster DR will be cut down, and whether it will be a strictly Blue Bloc deal or whether it will be a broad deal with the Social Democrats. DR has been almost provocatively left-wing in some of their biggest programs in recent years, and combined with some expenses scandals, several Blue Bloc politicians want a 25% cut in their funding. However, the Conservatives are a bit hesitant towards making too big cuts as an old and "cultured" party, and some pragmatists in the other parties would also prefer a broad, sustainable deal with the Social Democrats, where the cuts are more like 10%. A recent poll showed that 33% of Danes wanted DR cut with 25% or more, 21% wanted it cut but with less than 25%, 31% did not want any cuts, 15% don't know.
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« Reply #1019 on: March 13, 2018, 04:45:13 am »

Historic increase in defence budget



For the first time since the Cold War, the Danish defence budget will increase in the years to come. The government has reached an agreement with the Social Democrats, the DPP and the Social Liberals to increase the budget gradually until 2023, where it will be 4.8 billion DKK/0,65 billion euro higher than today. This is an increase of around 20% compared to the current defence budget. The parties in the agreement largely agreed that the defence budget had to be increased, but there were clear differences between how much. DPP and particularly the Conservatives wanted a larger increase, where as the Social Liberals and probably the Liberal Alliance wanted less significant increases. There were also disagreements about how to spend the money. Social Democrats, Social Liberals and Liberal Alliance tended to favour cyber defence structures, while the other parties looked to get more "boots on the ground" and normal military equipment. Similarly, the two Red Bloc parties wanted more funds to peace and stabilization missions, while the Blue Bloc parties tended to focus on the ability to join heavier military missions.
Finally, DPP and Conservatives wanted to double the number of conscripts (currently 4200 a year) and double the term (currently 4 months), while the Liberal Alliance in particular has made clear its opposition to the idea of conscription. The compromise ended at an increase in conscripts of 500 with the same standard term, and an intensified promotion campaign to make sure it's still almost only volunteers (currently 98% are).

If you don't mind, would you be able to talk more about the background on this issue? Is the motivation both from the SDs and the conservative bloc just about participation in international interventions?
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« Reply #1020 on: March 13, 2018, 03:17:20 pm »

Historic increase in defence budget

For the first time since the Cold War, the Danish defence budget will increase in the years to come. The government has reached an agreement with the Social Democrats, the DPP and the Social Liberals to increase the budget gradually until 2023, where it will be 4.8 billion DKK/0,65 billion euro higher than today. This is an increase of around 20% compared to the current defence budget. The parties in the agreement largely agreed that the defence budget had to be increased, but there were clear differences between how much. DPP and particularly the Conservatives wanted a larger increase, where as the Social Liberals and probably the Liberal Alliance wanted less significant increases. There were also disagreements about how to spend the money. Social Democrats, Social Liberals and Liberal Alliance tended to favour cyber defence structures, while the other parties looked to get more "boots on the ground" and normal military equipment. Similarly, the two Red Bloc parties wanted more funds to peace and stabilization missions, while the Blue Bloc parties tended to focus on the ability to join heavier military missions.
Finally, DPP and Conservatives wanted to double the number of conscripts (currently 4200 a year) and double the term (currently 4 months), while the Liberal Alliance in particular has made clear its opposition to the idea of conscription. The compromise ended at an increase in conscripts of 500 with the same standard term, and an intensified promotion campaign to make sure it's still almost only volunteers (currently 98% are).

If you don't mind, would you be able to talk more about the background on this issue? Is the motivation both from the SDs and the conservative bloc just about participation in international interventions?

Well, there are different reasons for the parties, and there are significant differences in how much they want to spend.

The Conservatives are the most extreme. They basically want to spend as much money as possible on defence. They insist on Denmark reaching the NATO target of 2% GDP spending on defence, and before they entered the government, they stayed out of the 2016 deal to buy 27 new F-35 fighters because the number was too low. They are traditionally a defence-friendly party, has won many votes in the Defence Community and has had military personnel among their MPs (latest prominent one was Helge Adam Møller, MP from 1984-2011). However, they have embraced the topic even further in recent years. With their dramatic drop in support from 2010 to 2015, and a generel feeling that the party had lost its character and edge during the many government years, the party has increased focus on a few, traditional conservative causes like law and order and defense.

The DPP is also very willing to spend a lot of money on defence, and thinks the 2% target should be achieved, although more gradually than the Conservatives. The DPP is somewhat more focused on "defending the realm" and the more folksy parts of the military like the Home Guard and conscription. The party does not really agree with some of NATO's biggest objectives; their defence spokesperson Marie Krarup has repeatedly rejected the idea that there is any Russian threat and famously said that "the EU is a far bigger threat for Denmark than Russia". The party has also become a bit more weary on participation in missions in muslim countries with a "let the barbarians sort it out between them" type rhetoric, although in reality they have voted for basically all mandates. 

The Liberals and the Social Democrats have fairly similar attitudes. They are the two traditional prime minister parties, so on the one hand they represent Denmark on the biggest stage and want to be able to join international coalitions, but on the other hand they know defense investments are expensive and that the median voter is opposed to increased defence spending. They both refer a lot to the declaration from the 2014 Nato Wales Summit, where the countries agreed to reverse cuts in defense and instead move towards the 2% target. Neither party want to spend that much money on defence, the new agreement makes it 1.3% in 2023, but both parties want to show goodwill to international partners and ensure Denmark's ability to participate in international missions.

The Liberal Alliance does not care a lot about defence. It's major goal is generally to reduce the public sector and reduce taxes, so they will not want the defence budgets to run amok, but they accept the international commitment to an increase and that the issue is fairly important to the other Blue Bloc parties. Their main points has been liberal ideologoical ones like "abolish conscription". They are also critical of the idea of broad spendings on things like the Home Guard and military installations across the country; instead they want a narrow, focused, high-tech defense with few highly-trained units. The three big people parties are obviously big opponents of this idea of cutting a lot of jobs in thinly-populated areas, so their vision is unlikely to become reality anytime soon.

The Social Liberals are mainly in the deal due to their constant desire to be a "responsible party". They know no better than to stand with serious looks and explain just how important their party is for the continued functioning of Denmark, and the whole World. The party wants to cut defence spending, and transfer the spending towards foreign aid and development projects. In terms of the structure of the defence, they are probably fairly close to the Liberal Alliance vision, but focusing even more on peacekeeping, international cooperation, climate change etc. They did manage to diverge some funds to these areas, and perhaps to slightly rein in the ambitions of the most eager parties.
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« Reply #1021 on: March 14, 2018, 01:44:59 am »

Historic increase in defence budget

For the first time since the Cold War, the Danish defence budget will increase in the years to come. The government has reached an agreement with the Social Democrats, the DPP and the Social Liberals to increase the budget gradually until 2023, where it will be 4.8 billion DKK/0,65 billion euro higher than today. This is an increase of around 20% compared to the current defence budget. The parties in the agreement largely agreed that the defence budget had to be increased, but there were clear differences between how much. DPP and particularly the Conservatives wanted a larger increase, where as the Social Liberals and probably the Liberal Alliance wanted less significant increases. There were also disagreements about how to spend the money. Social Democrats, Social Liberals and Liberal Alliance tended to favour cyber defence structures, while the other parties looked to get more "boots on the ground" and normal military equipment. Similarly, the two Red Bloc parties wanted more funds to peace and stabilization missions, while the Blue Bloc parties tended to focus on the ability to join heavier military missions.
Finally, DPP and Conservatives wanted to double the number of conscripts (currently 4200 a year) and double the term (currently 4 months), while the Liberal Alliance in particular has made clear its opposition to the idea of conscription. The compromise ended at an increase in conscripts of 500 with the same standard term, and an intensified promotion campaign to make sure it's still almost only volunteers (currently 98% are).

If you don't mind, would you be able to talk more about the background on this issue? Is the motivation both from the SDs and the conservative bloc just about participation in international interventions?

Well, there are different reasons for the parties, and there are significant differences in how much they want to spend.

<snip>

That was very informative, thank you!
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« Reply #1022 on: March 14, 2018, 06:23:04 am »

What are the perspectives of the other Red Bloc parties towards the military?
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« Reply #1023 on: March 14, 2018, 01:24:24 pm »

What are the perspectives of the other Red Bloc parties towards the military?

SPP is, like in many other areas, moving gradually more left again after their government participation. In 2009, the party participated in a defence agreement for the first time in its history as one of many steps towards showing they were a responsible party ready for governing. Although it, like all previous agreements since the Cold War, included gradual cuts in the Defence Budget, it was still a big step for a traditionally pacifist party to enter an agreement that meant spending billions each year on tanks and guns. In 2013, they were also a part of the parties behind the defence agreement as part of the government. Similarly, they voted for the Libya bombings in 2011, and helped administrate the effort in Afghanistan as part of the government. Since leaving government, they have retracted back to a more natural spot. In the aforementioned 2016 deal to buy F-35 fighters, SPP were in negotiations as a part of the defence agreement, but left because the number of fighters was deemed to high. They weren't seriously a part of the negotiations of the 2018 defence agreement, and criticized the military build-up.

The Red-Green Alliance wants to abolish the Danish military, and replace it with a far smaller organization, that can potentially participate in UN peacekeeping missions. Previously, their party program even argued that the abolishment of the military (and police) was necessary because "they have too often showed to be the final, and far too effective, protector of capitalism", but that passage has been removed. They obviously want to leave NATO as well. They actually supported the bombings in Libya... for 4 days, before returning to their traditional position of strongly denouncing any use of military force.

The Alternative is still a quite new party, but, like in many areas, their policies will probably largely end up in the same place as the Red-Green Alliance, although from different ways of arguing and with a different rhetoric. They have their usual symbolic gestures: their spokesperson in the area is called a peace spokesperson, they want a "feminist foreign policy" etc. They are very happy about cooperation, and international cooperation in particular, so it does not seem like they want to leave NATO, but they are probably never gonna vote for military action, only peacekeeping in UN and EU (if the opt-out is ever removed). Found this comment from their spokesperson regarding the defence agreement: "The time is not for gunpowder and bullets or more conscripts. We need a new approach, where we invest in resolution of conflicts. Where we look at migration and climate change as important aspects. If we increase our military budget, we will not get any nearer to peace and stability."
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« Reply #1024 on: March 16, 2018, 12:01:27 pm »

Blue Bloc parties agree 20% budget reduction for state broadcaster



The government and DPP today agreed to cut the Danish state broadcaster, DR, with 20% over the next five years. At the same time, they decided to abolish the license fee, and introduce it in a reduced form as a part of the general tax system. This is a quite big cut, and a significant win for DPP and the Liberal Alliance in particular. The Red Bloc parties are all opposed to the deal, even the Social Democrats that had been open to accept some cuts. However, the Blue Bloc parties clearly decided to make the biggest cut they could agree on and preferred a solo Blue agreement with a large cut (and the possibility that a new majority in the next parliament could reverse some of the cuts) instead of a broad agreement with the Social Democrats and a less significant cut.

The current DR budget is 3.7 billion DKK (0.5 bln. euro) a year currently, and with this agreement it will be reduced to 3 billion DKK (0.4 bln. euro) in 2023 . Currently this is financed with a license fee paid by each household. It is not per se obligatory, but you must pay if you "have the possibility to watch/listen to DR", i.e. a TV, radio or an internet connection. So basically all households must pay the license fee, and inspectors can come on unannounced visits to non-payers to check whether they have the possibility to access DR content. The license fee will be gradually abolished, and then paid through the regular tax system instead. This will be a very good thing for singles, since the license fee is per household while the new payment will be through income tax. So for families, the total amount will stay around the same, while for singles the price will be cut in half from 2.350 DKK (315 euro) a year to 1.242 DKK (166 euro) a year.

As mentioned in a previous post, there is majority support in the population for significant cuts to DR. Some of that can be due to a general opposition to having such a dominant state-owned player in the media market (the Liberal Alliance argument), but DR has also faced significant criticism in recent years for a couple of expenses scandals and a too blatant left-wing bias (the DPP argument). The funniest expense example was when it was revealed that DR had spent 70.000 DKK to transport a correspondent's wife's horse to the US, but there were also cases of DR paying 1 million DKK in three years so a director could fly to and from work in Copenhagen as well as some very well-paid "diversity consultants", who were mostly former DR directors. Left-wing bias is probably unavoidable in an institution with so many journalists and academics, but if DR had just a bit of self-insight and political understanding, they had probably refrained themselves from blasting it out with big letters in their marquee programs. The biggest controversy was about the expensive "1864"; while historical accuracy and understanding were wanting, it had more than enough of far too obvious criticism of right-wing politics. To quote DR's drama director Ingolf Gabold: "Yes, this was a political drama. The dangers of nationalism as shown in 1864 shows the dangers of the neonationalism DPP espouses." and instructor Ole Bornedal said: "Yes of course 1864 is a rejection of nationalism, but I hardly find that a political point. I reject nationalism in the same way as I reject violence against women or children". Similarly, the ambitious history documentary series "The Story of Denmark" largely showcased achievements as the result of the left-wing, e.g. a significant focus on the communists in the resistance movements during WWII, but no mention of the, at least, equally important nationalconservative part of the resistance.
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