SOCIETY OF OPPORTUNITIES

 Government Platform 2007

 

Society of Opportunities, Government Platform 2007 (Selected Parts)

New goals for Denmark for the next four years
Continued responsible, long-term and sustainable economic policy
An effective and secure tax system
At least 20,000 more people in employment in a flexible labour market
Active prevention – a healthier Denmark
A leading knowledge society – strong and innovative research and development
Firm and fair immigration policy
Efforts to fight radicalisation and strengthen democratic integration
A visionary climate and energy policy
An ambitious global climate strategy
A visible and active Denmark in a globalised world
International security and stability
A freer and fairer world
Denmark at the heart of Europe
Up-to-date cooperation within the Unity of the Realm
 

 

 

  

New goals for Denmark for the next four years:

·         The welfare model of the 21st century – implementation of the quality improvement reform, with citizens at the centre and close involvement of staff

·         Improved health and strengthened prevention – acute treatment for cancer patients and life-threatened heart patients as well as a national prevention plan

·         Enough people to fill all jobs – implementation of a large-scale plan to secure more labour supply

·         Tax reform – lower tax on earned income and incentives to encourage environmentally friendly and energy-saving behaviour

·         A green and sustainable society – In the long term, Denmark must be 100 per cent independent of fossil fuels. The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009 must lead to a binding and ambitious climate agreement

·         A modern society that is interconnected – investments in roads, bridges and modern public transport

·         A leading growth, knowledge and entrepreneurial society – implementation of the globalisation reform, with extensive investments in future education and training, research, innovation and entrepreneurship

·         Shared responsibility and equal opportunities for all – a broad proposal to combat inequality

·         Democratic integration – continued pursuance of a firm and fair immigration policy and focus on democratic integration

·         Denmark at the heart of Europe – Denmark must participate fully and completely in the EU cooperation

·         International efforts to promote democracy, human rights and development – long-term objective to increase development assistance

·         Continued pursuance of a responsible economic policy – the Government will keep Denmark on track

 

Continued responsible, long-term and sustainable economic policy

Economic responsibility is the prerequisite for a stable development of the Danish economy, which provides a secure framework for families and enterprises. It is the prerequisite for a sustainable development of prosperity and welfare. And it is the prerequisite for Denmark to maintain its position as one of the societies in which social and economic differences are smallest and cohesion strongest.

It is of decisive importance for the Government to maintain the responsible economic policy and secure a stable development of the Danish economy.

With its 2015 Plan, the Government has presented a coherent strategy that addresses the challenges facing the Danish economy.

The plan secures that the quality improvement in the public sector and lower tax on earned income rest on a solid and sustainable economic foundation. The improvements planned for the period up to 2015 can be maintained in the years after 2015, without tax increases or other fiscal tightening, provided that reforms are implemented to raise employment and keep working hours unchanged. Thereby the responsible line of economic policy is maintained.

A key challenge is to ensure sufficient labour supply so that we can perform the important welfare tasks and secure sustained good conditions for growth. Another challenge is to prepare Danish society so that we are able to derive the greatest possible benefits from globalisation. Last, the finance policy must still be structured to reflect the fact that society will have more elderly people and fewer people in the most labour active age groups.

In the 2015 Plan, the planned annual growth in public sector spending is higher than in the 2010 Plan. This makes it even more important to comply with the financial framework.

Denmark has a tradition for all parties to show responsibility and consider the best interests of our entire society. This applies to municipalities and regions when they make agreements with the Government. And it applies to trade unions and employers when they conclude collective agreements. This responsible attitude is a prerequisite for securing a stable economic development with room for a sustainable expansion of prosperity and welfare in a society as free and decentralised as Danish society.

The Government’s economic policy is based on all parties showing responsibility and contributing to securing a sound development of the national economy – for the benefit of everybody.

Concrete initiatives and benchmarks:

Stability-orientated and sustainable economic policy

The Government will continue to pursue an economic policy that secures a high and stable level of employment, and which supports the fixed exchange rate policy and good competitiveness. This requires restraint and sufficient public sector surplus in good times. The overall framework of the finance policy has been set out in the 2015 Plan.

Public sector spending may grow at the rate of the national economy

The Government has set the benchmark that the spending on public sector services may amount to as much as 26.5 per cent of GDP in 2015. The spending on public sector services, etc., may thus grow at the rate of the whole economy. New initiatives that fall outside this framework will require new decision on the overall priorities of public expenditures

Public sector finances in surplus or balance

Up to 2010, Denmark must maintain a structural surplus on public sector finances of between 0.75 per cent and 1.75 per cent of GDP. From 2011 to 2015, the budget must at least be balanced.

Continued reduction of public sector debt

Public sector EMU debt will be further reduced over the period leading up to 2015. By virtue of the surplus in the public sector finances, a public sector net credit accrues. This is to contribute to the funding of the public spending incurred by the ageing of the population.

Making resources available for improved services for citizens

In order to create possibilities for better services for citizens in a situation in which there is a general difficulty with recruiting manpower for the public sector, the Government will present an action plan in 2008 for ways to make resources available for services for citizens in municipalities and regions. The Government’s target is to free up DKK 1 billion per year from 2009 to 2013 for further services for citizens in municipalities and regions, corresponding to DKK 5 billion on a permanent basis, by achieving more efficient administration, etc.     

Compliance with agreements on the finances of the municipalities

The system of agreement on municipal finances rests on compliance with the agreements concluded. The Government will discuss the framework of the agreement system with Local Government Denmark (LGDK). Further to this, the Government will present specific proposals for new budget cooperation that ensures that municipal budgets as a whole remain within the framework of the tax freeze and the agreements made with the Government.
 

An effective and secure tax system

The tax freeze will be maintained as the pivotal element of the Government’s tax policy in the coming years. This is of decisive importance to ensure that the growth potential is not slowly eroded by rising taxes and lack of prioritisation.

At the same time, the Government will continue the line it has pursued so far and structure the system of direct and indirect taxes so as to improve the support for growth, prosperity and welfare. The tax on earned income is to be reduced. The tax system is to be stable, simple and transparent. And it must contribute to economic growth being environmentally sustainable.

In specific terms, the Government will implement a tax reform on the basis of preparatory work carried out by a tax commission.

The Government will also strengthen its efforts against undeclared work and other forms of tax evasion, which undermine people’s sense of justice and fairness as well as the financing of the welfare society. And the tax administration is to be improved, so that families and enterprises are burdened with fewer reporting requirements and receive more rapid resolution of tax cases.

Concrete initiatives:

The tax freeze to be maintained

The tax freeze has created financial security for the individual family and enterprise. This security must remain unchanged in accordance with the current guidelines before and after a tax reform. Any municipal tax increases will continue to be compensated through lower state income tax.

Tax reform

The Government wishes to implement reform of the tax system. The goal is a significant reduction of the tax on earned income, which is to stimulate work and entrepreneurship, including through lowering the tax paid on the last earned krone. At the same time, the tax reform is to support the Government’s ambitions in the areas of climate and energy by encouraging private individuals and enterprises to act in an environmentally responsible and energy conserving fashion. Last, the reform is to be balanced in terms of redistribution, in accordance with the long-term economic framework of the 2015 Plan, and it is to be robust to developments in an increasingly globalised world. In connection with the tax reform, a direct or indirect tax may be raised, provided that the tax on earned income is correspondingly reduced. The property value tax is to be kept unchanged. Financing elements outside the tax system may be included to the extent they benefit the overall goal of the tax reform. The Government will set up a tax commission, which is to prepare models for a comprehensive tax reform that fulfils these criteria. The commission is to submit its findings at the beginning of 2009. On 3 September 2007, the Government and the Danish People’s Party concluded an agreement on lower tax on earned income. If the parties to this agreement are in concord, a tax reform can be implemented in the course of the current election term. Otherwise the tax reform can only be implemented after a parliamentary election.

Closing of tax loopholes and fair play

The Government will continue to clamp down on and close tax loopholes, as soon as the authorities become aware of them. The Government will also continue to clamp down on any evasion of direct and indirect taxes.

A tax system able to withstand impacts from external factors

The Government will continue to ensure that the Danish tax system complies with EU regulations. Any revenue surplus produced by adaptation to EU regulations will be spent on lowering other taxes, pursuant to the tax freeze.

Efficient tax administration

The Government will continue to modernise the tax administration. The processing of cases by the Danish National Tax Tribunal must be made more efficient, and the Government will simplify citizens’ work on tax reporting by having a number of information items currently to be provided by citizens on their tax return to be reported instead directly to SKAT (Danish national tax administration).
 

At least 20,000 more people in employment in a flexible labour market

The greatest task in the coming years will be to secure a sufficient number of people for the labour market, both in private enterprises and public sector institutions. Already today, employers are facing a recruitment problem in a number of vital areas. The challenge will only grow larger in the future, when the number of elderly people grows while fewer people will be in the age groups that are working.

Therefore, there is a need for an extra effort in order to secure the supply of labour. In specific terms, there is a need for new initiatives, which can, in the short term, contribute to extending the economic boom. And in the long term, according to the 2015 Plan, initiatives must be implemented that can boost the workforce by at least 20,000, and ensure that the working hours are not reduced.

The Government will therefore launch a significant effort to move even more people from transfer income to employment.

At the same time, we must recruit more labour from other countries. It must be clear to the world around us which advantages Denmark offers as a country to work in, and it must be easier to enter Denmark in order to work. The initiatives in this area include an expansion of the Green Card scheme and a lowering of the minimum annual pay threshold under the Job Card scheme.

Furthermore, the tripartite agreements concluded in the summer of 2007 between the Government, municipalities/regions, and the trade unions, will launch a significant effort for attracting and maintaining workers in the public sector welfare services.

Last, the Government will prepare a long-term effort by setting up a labour market commission consisting of independent experts. The commission is to draft proposals for ways to boost employment even further in the coming years.

Concrete initiatives:

Strengthened effort vis-à-vis the unemployed

The Government will continue and expand its effort to move the few who are still unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits and cash benefits into active employment. The tripartite agreement allocated DKK 200 million to a strengthened effort to help people who have been unemployed for an extended period. The experience gained through the campaign “A New Chance for All” must be utilised in order to strengthen the efforts to help the weakest among the unemployed.

Early and intensive action

The Government will initiate further endeavours of early action (“Get Started Fast II”), with a view to developing the most effective effort. Furthermore, the Government will conduct a review of the rules in the employment area for the purpose of adjusting rules that contribute to increasing short-term unemployment or to keeping a person in unemployment.

Security for people who have been granted early retirement pension under the old scheme to be able to work without losing the right to receive a pension

Early retirement pensioners - whose pension was granted pursuant to the rules that applied until 2003 – must have the opportunity for working while safeguarding their right to receive their early retirement pension later on.

Strengthened effort to ensure that young persons do not end up on early retirement pension

A new and active preventive effort must be initiated in the area of early retirement pension. The goal is to reduce the number of people, especially young people with a mental illness, who end up on early retirement pension.

Better opportunities for state pension recipients to work

For pensioners receiving the state pension, there will be an extra tax allowance of DKK 30,000 for earned income in the calculation of the income basis of personal credit and personal percentage supplements. Furthermore, the requirement to the extent of employment for deferred pension will be reduced from 1,500 hours to 1,000 hours of employment per year.

Tax rebate for people aged 64

The Government will introduce a tax rebate for people aged 64 who are in employment. The tax rebate will be granted to individuals who have been in full-time employment from turning 60 until they reach 64. The scheme will expire in 2012, unless it is decided to keep it in operation.

Reform of the State Education Grant and Loan Scheme

The Government will work on raising the untaxed income threshold for students. Furthermore, the State Education Grant and Loan Scheme rules must be structured so that students are not forced to repay their State Education Grant if they had a well-paid job immediately prior to their study programme, or if they get a well-paid job immediately after completing their study programme.

Reduction of absence caused by illness

It is the aim of the Government to reduce absence caused by illness by 20 per cent up to 2015. The Government will set up a fast-working committee to examine the entire area with a view to taking action. The committee is to identify, among other things, the impact of various factors on the illness-related absence rate. The social partners, medical practitioners and the municipalities will be included in the work. The Government will also immediately launch a number of initiatives aiming to reduce the illness-related absence rate, among other things as part of the tripartite agreements. The initiatives will include better dialogue between employers and employees, regular surveys of job satisfaction, improvement of the working environment and better follow-up vis-à-vis the municipalities.

Quicker decisions on people with occupational injury 

There must be greater focus on cases in which people who have suffered occupational injury are at risk of leaving the labour market, or where an extraordinary effort can speed up a return to work. Therefore the Government will work to achieve better coordination of the efforts of public authorities towards persons who have suffered occupational injury, faster and more flexible cooperation with insurance companies, and faster and more correct reporting of occupational injuries.

Strengthening of age management policy efforts

The tripartite agreements encompass a significant effort for retaining employees working in the public welfare services by, among other things, a strengthened effort in the area of age management policy. There has been allocated a total of DKK 900 million over the period 2008 to 2011 for promotion of age management policy initiatives.

Abolition of mandatory retirement age

The Government will abolish the mandatory retirement age that applies pursuant to the Civil Service Act, so that civil servants are not dismissed because they reach 70 years of age.

Better possibility for going from part-time to full-time employment

As part of the tripartite agreements, the possibilities of public sector employees for going to full time employment, or just a higher number of hours, will be strengthened.  In continuation of this, the Government will adjust the rules that keep people into part-time employment if they might instead have full-time employment. In connection with this, the Government will strive to have the public sector employers limit the number of the so-called release certificates.

Restriction on the use of non-recruitment agreements

The Government will present a parliamentary bill that aims to ensure that enterprises will not be able, in secret and without the knowledge of their employees, to enter into non-recruitment agreements that limit mobility on the labour market.

Easier access to working in Denmark

The Job Card scheme is to be expanded, and the amount thresholds to be reduced. A growth list is to be prepared as a supplement to the positive list. The 25 per cent gross income tax scheme for certain researchers and other key employees must be improved. And the Green Card scheme must be expanded according to the Canadian model. Furthermore, we must introduce a corporate residence permit, which offers foreign nationals the opportunity for moving between a multinational corporation’s branches in Denmark and those in third countries.

Better service for companies and job seekers

A new cross-ministerial task force is to help simplify procedures and identify barriers to companies and job seekers in connection with international recruitment. The case processing time at the Danish Immigration Service must be reduced. The recruitment efforts conducted in other countries must be improved. And the Government will remove all unnecessary barriers in the visa area that create obstacles to the Danish business community’s international trade relations.

Retention and integration of manpower from other countries

Families that come to Denmark in order to work must, among other things, receive an offer of an information package and an introductory course on Danish society and the Danish labour market. Foreign workers and spouses must also have better opportunities for learning Danish. And there must be better possibilities for motivated foreigners to begin learning Danish before they arrive in Denmark.

Increased recruitment for the public sector

Challenges and experience with respect to foreign labour in the public sector must be analysed. There must be easier access to applying for a Danish authorisation for foreign health care personnel. And we must create a fast-track scheme for recognition of social services and health care (SOSU) staff. Furthermore, the initiatives from the tripartite agreements will have a significant effect in terms of attracting more staff for public services by, among other things, reducing the drop-out rate in the nurse training programme and increase the admissions to relevant education programmes.

Marketing of Denmark as an attractive country to work in

The mention of Denmark as an attractive country to work in must be increased in the international media, and we must initiate a recruitment campaign that targets foreign health care personnel.

The labour market commission

The Government will set up a labour market commission consisting of independent experts to produce, by the middle of 2009, recommendations to help fulfil the Government’s long-term vision for employment and working hours. The commission’s work is to be discussed on an ongoing basis in a tripartite forum consisting of the Government and the social partners.

Modern digital solutions

In order to reap the full benefits of the new “eIncome” register, the Government wants to identify ways to apply the information to achieving simplification and harmonisation of the rules governing the disbursement of unemployment benefits, cash benefits and social benefits. The Government furthermore wants to establish a mandatory digitalisation solution in the area of sickness benefits.

Active prevention – a healthier Denmark

It is important to strengthen the general level of public health through increased prevention. Especially the health of children should be protected from smoking, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. It is first and foremost the responsibility of parents, but it is important that society provides a framework that makes it easy to have a healthy and active lifestyle.

Improved health provides, at one and the same time, higher life expectancy, and society saves costs for treatment and care. 

The Government wishes to set up a prevention commission with a view to launching a national action plan on prevention, with clear targets for the effort. In connection with the work, the personal responsibility of the individual for his or her health will be included. It is the Government’s goal that the average life expectancy of Danes is to be extended by three years over the next ten years.

In addition, The Government wishes to improve, among other things, the opportunities of both children and adults to engage in sports and physical exercise.

Concrete initiatives:

The life expectancy of Danes must be extended by three years over the next period of ten years – prevention commission

The Government will set up a prevention commission. The focus will be on initiatives that have a documented effect on the prevention of diseases. On the basis of the commission’s recommendations, the Government will launch a national action plan on prevention in 2009 with clear benchmarks.

Value Added Tax on fruit and vegetables

It will be part of the prevention commission’s terms of reference to examine the impact of differentiated VAT, under which the VAT rate on fresh fruit and vegetables is lowered.

National council for public health, exercise and nutrition

As part of the effort to strengthen the work on disease prevention, the Government will merge the Danish National Council for Public Health and the Danish Fitness and Nutrition Council.

Healthy food for children in day care facilities and schools

The Government wants all children in day care facilities and schools to be able to buy, to the greatest extent possible, healthy and nutritious food at a reasonable price.

Raising the minimum age limit to buy cigarettes to 18

Smoking is hazardous to a person’s health. This applies to a very high degree also to young people. The Government therefore wants to raise the minimum age limit for when young people are allowed to buy cigarettes to 18. This corresponds to the current regulations that apply in Sweden, Norway and Finland.

The opportunity for free and non-taxable exercise

Both public sector and private sector employers must be able to offer their employees free exercise at, for instance, fitness centres, without this being added to the taxable income of the employees.

More sport and exercise for children

The foundations of good exercise habits are laid in childhood. The Government wishes to work for more physical activity and exercise in kindergartens and after-school schemes through increased cooperation between municipalities and local sports clubs. At the same time, physical education in primary and lower secondary school must be strengthened.

Better sports facilities

Within the framework of the quality improvement fund, the Government wants to make a contribution to an intensification of the effort to renovate municipal sports facilities, especially the facilities that are used for physical education and sports club activities.

Follow-up on the Recreational Sports Committee

The Government has set up a recreational sports committee, which is to produce concrete proposals for improving the public’s opportunities to engage in exercise and sports. The Government will follow up on the recommendations of the committee in the context of the work on the prevention commission.

Urban planning should promote an active lifestyle

In cooperation with the municipalities, the Government will work for urban planning that promotes an active lifestyle, for instance through improved bicycle paths, exercise-promoting areas and green areas in the cities.

A leading knowledge society – strong and innovative research and development

With the globalisation reform, the Government has given research and innovation top priority. Denmark is to be one of the world’s most creative and innovative societies. And we must stay at the forefront of translating new knowledge and new ideas into production and jobs in both future and already existing companies.

In the coming years, there will be sustained focus on implementing the globalisation strategy.

Among the steps to be taken is the drawing up of a new distribution model for the allocation of basic funding for the universities. The allocation in the future is to be based on targets and performance of the quality of research, education and dissemination of knowledge. And the universities must have a degree of freedom for, among other things, attracting good researchers.

Furthermore, funds must still be made available to the High Technology Fund for the support of Denmark’s further development as a high technological society. And the number of PhD scholarships must be increased.

At the same time, The Government wishes to amend the Act on the Danish National Foundation of Basic Research, so as to maintain the foundation’s possibilities for strengthening the development of long-term research.

Last, the Government will continue working on making Danish research and development more international.

Concrete initiatives:

Historic increase of research grants

The Government has set the goal that by 2010 Denmark must spend 1 per cent of GDP on publicly financed research. This means that where public grants in 2007 amounted to approximately DKK 14 billion, by 2010 the research grant appropriation will be DKK 18 billion.

A new model for quality-based distribution of research funding for universities

From 1 January 2009, universities are to be granted basic funding against the background of an overall assessment of actual results and performance in relation to targets of the quality of research, education and dissemination of knowledge. The universities that score highest will receive the largest amount of basic funding relative to their size. The quality-based distribution model will be developed in a dialogue with the universities.

Simplification for universities and other private education and research institutions

The Government will simplify the financial and administrative regulation of universities and a number of other independent education and research institutions, so that the institutions will be able with efficiency to produce research and education of high quality.

More highly competent researchers

The universities must have greater freedom to attract highly competent researchers, for instance by applying remuneration in a flexible and targeted manner.

Continued injections of funds into the High Technology Fund

The High Technology Fund is to be expanded through a capital injection of assumed DKK 2 billion per year. The goal is for the fund to have a capital base of at least DKK 16 billion by 2012. As an effect of this, the possible annual disbursement will be gradually increased.

More PhD scholarships

The number of PhD scholarships is to be increased, so that the target for the intake is around 2,400 by 2010. There must especially be an increase within natural science, technical science as well as IT and health science. In connection with this, the business PhD scheme is to be enlarged from 2009 so as also to encompass the public sector.

Amendment of the Act on the Danish National Foundation of Basic Research

The framework for the continued possibilities of the Danish National Foundation of Basic Research to strengthen research development in Denmark is due for a revision. The aim of the changes is to maintain the independence of the Foundation and secure the financial basis of the Foundation in the long term.

International cooperation on research

The Government will seek to conclude bilateral cooperation agreements on research and development and establish innovation centres in global growth areas of significance for Danish research and innovation.
 

Firm and fair immigration policy

The Government wishes to pursue a firm and fair immigration policy in accordance with international conventions.

The basis of Danish asylum policy is that genuine refugees may be allowed to stay in Denmark until the situation in their home country allows them to return. Rejected asylum seekers must return home as quickly as possible.

The existing rules regarding family reunification will continue unchanged.

The Government will invite the circle of political parties behind the immigration legislation with the aim of securing agreement on a solution to the problem of rejected asylum seekers who cannot be repatriated, with particular focus on the situation of the children. The Government wishes the broadest possible circle of political parties to stand behind such a solution.

The Government will set up a committee of experts to conduct a study of the asylum rules of other countries, including an analysis of the differences in the conditions with which asylum seekers are received as well as opportunities for establishing reception centres in the refugees’ regions of origin.

Concrete initiatives:

Agreement on asylum policy

The Government desires an agreement on the rejected asylum seekers that, among other things, contains the following elements: a continuation of the contract-based scheme on activation and provision of education for rejected Iraqi asylum seekers; better opportunities, especially for families with young children, to live in special housing outside the asylum centres; better education and training opportunities for children and young people; increased financial support to those who will return voluntarily to their home country; and action to combat the undeclared work of asylum seekers.

Study of rules and experiences of other countries

The Government will set up a committee of experts to conduct a study of the asylum rules of other countries, including an analysis of the differences in the conditions with which asylum seekers are received and the opportunities for establishing reception centres in the refugees’ regions of origin.

Repatriation of rejected asylum seekers

The constructive efforts to repatriate rejected asylum seekers will continue. In order to maintain the credibility of the asylum system, it is, in relation to the home countries of the rejected asylum seekers, necessary to create better opportunities for repatriating rejected asylum seekers that do not return home voluntarily. The Government will therefore continue its efforts to persuade the home countries of rejected asylum seekers to re-admit their own citizens. The Government will work actively to achieve a breakthrough in relation to the authorities of these countries.

Traumatised asylum seekers at the asylum centres

The Government wishes to enhance the cooperation between asylum centres and municipalities regarding traumatised asylum seekers. Greater effort is to be made to offer systematic psychological examinations of children in vulnerable families and vulnerable adults at a very early stage in the asylum process. In addition, the Government will strengthen preventive efforts. For example, the psycho-social team, which is currently established as a pilot scheme, is to be made permanent.


Efforts to fight radicalisation and strengthen democratic integration

The Government will assign higher priority to the value-related aspect of the integration efforts, with focus on respect for the democratic view of human nature and on equality between men and women. We wish to prevent extremist views and the radicalisation of young people.

It is the Government’s aim that all new Danes should become a fully integrated part of Danish society. It is important to ensure that people become familiar with the principles upon which Danish democracy is built.

The Government wishes that we in Denmark stand together as a society in which we enjoy the freedom to be different. A society in which each citizen is respected as a person. A society which welcomes people who want to work, get an education and make a positive contribution to the community.

Danes with an immigrant background are to find employment and get an education to the same extent as other Danes. Since 2001, employment among immigrants from non-Western countries has increased by 30,000 people. In relation to the education of young people with a different ethnic background, further efforts are still needed, partly in order to reduce the drop-out rate of young people with non-Western backgrounds from general and vocational upper secondary education.

Concrete initiatives:

Undemocratic forces must be identified early – comprehensive action plan to combat extremism and radicalisation

Danger signals of radicalisation must be identified and tackled early. The Government will present a comprehensive action plan designed to prevent extremist attitudes and the radicalisation of young people. The action plan will, among other things, focus on developing the SSP (Schools, Social Services and Police) cooperation, so that it becomes better equipped to deliver an early and coordinated response. Democracy and citizenship education as well as the use of role models must be strengthened. Similarly, increased focus must be placed on dialogue regarding Denmark’s engagement in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world as well as the relationship between the West and the Muslim world.

An outstretched hand to the democratically minded

The Government will develop democracy and citizenship education courses for imams and other religious preachers. In primary and lower secondary school, the Government will promote pupils’ understanding of democracy and their ability to participate as democratic citizens. The Government will incorporate the knowledge that, for example, teachers and integration consultants have about extremist religious behaviour. Danish Muslims will also receive help to develop a code of conduct that aims to ensure that extremist groups do not use mosques and Islamic culture centres for spreading undemocratic attitudes and for recruiting members. Similarly, a democratic platform will be created for young Danes with an immigrant background, with inspiration from the Council of Ethnic Minorities. Last, a website and a debate forum on democracy and radicalisation are to be set up.

Discrimination must not be tolerated

The Government will improve the possibilities for lodging complaints in cases relating to violation of the ban on discrimination in and outside the labour market. In addition, the action plan against discrimination published in November 2003 is to be updated. For example, there will be consequences for licensees that engage in differential treatment or discrimination in Danish nightlife.

New opportunities for people with limited contact to Danish society

The Government will place focus on bilingual children and young people as well as their parents through a series of new initiatives: by establishing a counselling unit for bilingual pupils in primary school; by offering the opportunity to widen and strengthen the use of mentoring schemes in general and vocational upper secondary education, with the aim of reducing drop-out; and by widening the services of the counselling unit for bilingual pupils engaged in vocational education and training. Last, parental responsibilities and competencies will be strengthened by involving immigrant parents in the primary school education of their children, by establishing family courses and by setting up more community centres with homework cafés and availability of online homework assistance.

Strengthening of efforts to combat forces that undermine the basis for integration

A special unit will be established in the Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs with a view to strengthening and coordinating efforts against forces intent on undermining the basis for integration. Among its tasks, the unit will be required to prepare educational material and implement information campaigns in, for example, in socially deprived areas and recreation centres. The unit is also to assist the Ministry of Education in carrying out tighter supervision of private schools and other educational institutions that are suspected of undermining the basis for integration.

Assistance to pattern breakers

The Government will draw up a comprehensive programme designed to support pattern-breakers with an immigrant background who, as a result of threats, violence, etc., need help and possibly physical protection. The programme is to help Danes with an immigrant background who wish to break, or are in the process of breaking, away from patterns and traditions that restrict their active participation in Danish society and who as a result experience serious problems.

Cross-ministerial task force for better integration

The Government will set up a cross-ministerial task force comprising persons with special expertise on integration. The task force will analyse problems and issues related to integration and present proposals to the Government regarding new specific initiatives in relation to, among other things, employment, education, housing and social integration. The task force can also organise theme-based events and consultations, pay visits to municipalities, organisations and companies around the country as well as incorporate international experience in its work.

Integration and equal opportunities for immigrant women

Women with an immigrant background are to be encouraged to find work, take an education, secure economic independence and join in sports clubs and societies. The Government will also intensify its efforts to help female entrepreneurs with an immigrant background, for example by improving the consultancy support made available and by making a general improvement to the start-up loan scheme through raising the maximum amount from DKK 500,000 to DKK 1,000,000. Through information and discussion material prepared in cross-ministerial collaboration, effort will be made to ensure that all new Danes learn about women’s rights and gender equality.

Centre for Ethnic Business Promotion

The Government will establish a Centre for Ethnic Business Promotion. The centre is to support knowledge development and promote consultancy support activities for, among others, women with an immigrant background who are starting their own business.

Sanctuary town scheme for persecuted authors

The Government will present a parliamentary bill whereby Danish towns can provide shelter and a peaceful working environment to authors who have experienced constraints on their freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression scholarship

The Government will establish a freedom of expression scholarship to be awarded to individuals who have made an extraordinary effort to promote freedom of expression internationally.

Democratic citizenship

The Government will strengthen awareness of Denmark as a democratic society. The Government will, among other things, take the initiative to incorporate folk high schools, etc. more actively in democracy education courses.


 

A visionary climate and energy policy

The Government’s long-term target is for Denmark to be 100 per cent independent of fossil fuels.

The Government has presented an energy proposal with ambitious targets for Danish energy policy up to 2025:

·         We will double the share of renewable energy, so that it reaches a minimum of 30 per cent of total energy consumption by 2025.

·         We will ensure an even more efficient utilisation of energy, with average energy savings of 1.4 per cent per year in the period 2010-2025.

·         We will double the public funding for research into energy technologies, so that it reaches DKK 1 billion per year by 2010.

The targets mean that Denmark will become less dependent on fossil fuels up to 2025, and that we will reduce the present level of energy consumption without stifling economic growth.

This is a challenge that requires us to take targeted action with the right strategies, technologies and means. Technological developments permitting, the Government will set even more ambitious targets in connection with the planned mid-term evaluation in 2015.

Each year, the Government will present a progress report on the effect of the efforts, and in 2010 the Government will present a decision-making basis for forward-looking initiatives covering the period 2011-2015.

Concrete initiatives:

More renewable energy

The Government’s objective is to double the share of renewable energy, so that it accounts for at least 30 per cent of energy consumption by 2025. As the first benchmark, the share of renewable energy is to be increased to 20 per cent by 2011.

New integrated legislative package on renewable energy

The Government wishes to bring together and focus the efforts to promote more renewable energy. The Government will therefore present a parliamentary bill on renewable energy with a view to coordinating the efforts and establishing the framework for developing and expanding renewable energy sources. The Government will also consider whether it will prove expedient to consolidate the existing laws on energy savings into a single law.

Secure energy supply

Modern societies are heavily dependent on stable energy supplies. As part of a visionary climate and energy policy, the Government will draw up a strategy for ensuring long-term security of energy supply by the end of 2009.

More efficient utilisation of energy

The Government wishes to achieve a reduction in energy consumption through a significant strengthening of energy saving efforts, leading to average energy savings of 1.4 per cent annually from 2010 to 2025. The Government will evaluate the overall energy saving initiatives in 2008 and thereafter present specific proposals for how the increased energy saving initiatives can best be implemented.

Low-energy housing

It is the Government’s aim that new buildings in 2020 should use 75 per cent less energy than today. The Government will present a strategy containing specific proposals for reducing energy consumption in new buildings, in renovated buildings and in public buildings. This could involve, for example, the introduction of new low-energy classes in the building regulations, requirements to energy saving equipment in new buildings as well as measures ensuring that public buildings become more energy efficient. The Government will also strengthen the gathering and dissemination of knowledge about energy savings by establishing a knowledge centre on energy savings. The centre will be integrated into existing knowledge and research environments.

Cost-effective development of renewable energy sources

With the ambitious strategy for more renewable energy, it is essential that renewable energy sources are developed and expanded in a cost-effective way. The main principle will be to get maximum renewable energy value for money. The Government will therefore design the financial subsidy system so that it is predictable and promotes the most cost-effective technologies. In addition, the Government will ensure that the energy sector regulation is adapted to the changes in the framework conditions, which are determined by, among other things, efforts at EU level.

More wind energy

The Government wishes more wind energy in Denmark. Old onshore wind turbines are to be replaced with new and more efficient wind turbines. This is to be achieved through awarding increased subsidies to the construction of new wind turbines. The establishment of onshore wind turbines is to be promoted in interaction with local planning authorities. And a compensation scheme is to be established for the benefit of people who live next door to newly built wind turbines. By the middle of 2008 at the latest, the Government will identify government-owned areas of land that are suitable as sites for wind turbine location. At the same time, on the basis of pilot tenders, the Government will present proposals for how these locations can be used. The Government will also take the initiative to invite tenders for the construction of an extra offshore wind farm, which is to be operational by 2012.

More biomass and waste, and fewer fossil fuels in the central power plants

The Government will present proposals that together will lead to greater use of biomass and waste and less use of fossil fuels in central combined heat and power plants (CHPs). This will contribute to achieving the renewable energy objective in a cost-effective way.

Rationalisation of the energy tax system

The Government will rationalise the energy taxes in a way that contributes to a cost-effective fulfilment of the Government’s objective for renewable energy and Denmark’s climate obligations. The incentive to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and thus reduce the emission of greenhouse gases must be the same, regardless of whether the use of fossil fuels takes place inside or outside the quota-regulated sector.

Transformation of the transport sector

The Government will work to improve the efficiency of the transport sector’s energy consumption and to ensure in the long term that the sector makes a transition to other and more future-sustainable fuels. The aim is for the share of EU-certified bio-fuels for transport purposes to increase to 10 per cent by 2020. As a first step, a regulation will be passed requiring oil companies to ensure that 5.75 per cent of their total fuel sales stems from EU-certified bio-fuel by 2010. The Government will also exempt hydrogen-powered cars from taxes. Furthermore, the Government will extend the current tax exemption for electric cars to 2012.

Climate Research Centre

The Government wishes to strengthen research activities and the dissemination of knowledge in the climate field, including in relation to climate change adaptation. The Government will therefore set up a cross-disciplinary climate research centre. The centre will be integrated into one of the new, large universities and is to operate in close collaboration with existing research and knowledge environments in the area.

New and more efficient energy technologies

The transition to a society with significantly less consumption of fossil fuels requires development of new energy technologies. The Government will strengthen research, development and demonstration of new energy technologies by doubling public funding for these activities by 2010 to an amount reaching DKK 1 billion per year.


An ambitious global climate strategy

Man-made climate change is today one of the greatest threats to continued prosperity and stability. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has established that if the emission of greenhouse gases continues at the current rate, it will lead to enormous changes in the world’s climate already in our children’s life-time, with major consequences for humans, nature and the environment.

The time has come for political action.

Denmark has assumed the role of host for the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 (COP15). It is the Government’s ambition that at the conference, which is to be held in Copenhagen, a global climate agreement is signed for the period after 2012, which is when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The goal is to achieve agreement on the elements of future efforts to protect the global climate.

As host country, Denmark will have a key role to play in the negotiations for a new climate agreement. The Government will therefore assign top priority to the preparations for this conference.

The Government places crucial importance on the adoption of a global agreement that is both ambitious and credible. The agreement should be based on the recommendations of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and should seek to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that minimises dangerous, man-made impacts on the climate.

It will prove of vital importance that as many countries as possible accede to an agreement that entails a substantial contribution to the reduction of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. All major emitters of greenhouse gases must make a significant contribution to the reductions in accordance with the principle of joint, yet differentiated responsibility.

As host of the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009, a special responsibility rests on Denmark to play an active role in developing the instruments that will facilitate significant reductions in emissions, whilst permitting each country’s social development and economic growth to continue. This requires visions and practical innovation, both in relation to developing new technologies and in spreading the use of new and more energy-efficient methods to all parts of society. The results cannot be achieved by setting ambitious targets alone. We also need to show how the reductions can be implemented in practice and how a highly developed society can gradually eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels.

Concrete initiatives:

UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009

The Government will strive to ensure that at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, an ambitious, global climate agreement is signed for the period after 2012, which is when the Kyoto Protocol expires. It is the Government’s ambition that as many countries as possible should accede to the agreement, and that it should make a significant contribution to reducing the emission of man-made greenhouse gases.

Active climate diplomacy

Between now and the Climate Change Conference in December 2009, the Government will participate fully and actively in the international climate change negotiations. The setting will be the UN Conferences of the Parties (COP), supported by discussions in other fora, both bilateral and multilateral. The Government will undertake a significant role in the work to pave the way for an agreement – particularly in relation to the large key countries. The task will comprise, among other things, building trusting relations, gathering knowledge about stances and positions, and testing agreement models. This is the precondition for enabling Denmark to be optimally equipped to contribute to securing an agreement in 2009. At the same time, the Government will strengthen the climate and energy aspects of Denmark’s general foreign and development assistance policy. The Government will take the initiative to organise a number of activities designed to prepare the ground for the decisions that need to be made in 2009. In relation to the preparations of decisions to be taken at the level of Heads of State and Government, the Government will initiate a process whereby prominent representatives of the international business community, the research community, think-tanks and voluntary organisations discuss and analyse issues that are core agenda items in the negotiations regarding a global climate agreement. Experts from countries that are responsible for a considerable share of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases will be invited to participate in this process. Focus will be on developing the instruments that will make it possible to achieve substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions globally, whilst at the same time ensuring economic growth and prosperity.

Inclusion of civil society, the research community and the business community

The Government will actively stimulate the debate on the climate challenge and potential solutions in collaboration with representatives of Danish and international civil society, including voluntary organisations and think-tanks. With a point of departure in the appointed Business Climate Panel, the Government will incorporate both the research and the business community in the preparations for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009. The research community can contribute many of the answers to the climate problems and consequences of climate developments, whilst the business community can and must ensure the development and widespread adoption of new climate-friendly technologies within areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy. Furthermore, the Government will set up a climate consortium whose task will be to market and promote Denmark, Danish companies and knowledge institutions in the run-up to and during the Climate Change Conference. In addition, the Government will implement initiatives aimed at strengthening the export of Danish technology and knowledge within this field. The goal is to raise the visibility of Denmark’s strengths within the climate field, exploit the business potential and ensure that the Danish business community assumes active co-responsibility.

Second generation of climate policy instruments – Climate Commission

In connection with the Government’s policy document, “A Visionary Danish Energy Policy up to 2025”, the Government will appoint a broadly composed national climate commission, whose task will be to present proposals for how the Government’s long-term vision to free Denmark completely from dependence on fossil fuels can be realised in practice. The climate commission will be charged with the development of pro-active energy and climate policy instruments that have a global, marketing perspective. The goal will also be to establish a solid basis for implementing a long-term climate policy that can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst making it possible for economic growth and prosperity to be maintained.

Assistance to climate adaptation efforts in developing countries

Within an increased development assistance framework, the Government wishes to strengthen climate change efforts in developing countries. This is to be achieved by establishing a climate change fund that is to build up gradually from DKK 100 million in 2008 to DKK 500 million in 2012. The efforts will be designed to help especially the world’s poorest countries in the fight to adjust to and limit the man-made climate change.


A visible and active Denmark in a globalised world

Globalisation opens up new opportunities for Denmark. Opportunities to reach new markets. To increase prosperity. To get better jobs. Opportunities to participate in and impact on a dynamic international development.

Globalisation constitutes at the same time a historic chance for the developing countries. Strong economic growth, especially in Asian countries like China and India, has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

However, the opportunities offered by globalisation do not come about by chance. Pursuing Danish interests in a globalised world requires an active Danish foreign policy.

In the Government’s globalisation reform of April 2006, a number of initiatives were launched to ensure that Danish interests are pursued effectively on the international scene – politically, economically, culturally, and specifically for Danish enterprises and citizens. This has translated into a number of concrete initiatives, including the launch of a proactive trade policy, a plan for the marketing of Denmark, further development of the Foreign Service, and new strategies for Denmark’s relations with, among others, the growth areas in Asia and Latin America.

Within the Nordic cooperation, the Government has taken the initiative to launch a Nordic Globalisation Process. The stage has been set for strengthened Nordic cooperation on specific measures aimed at preparing the Nordic countries for globalisation. 

Concrete initiatives: 

Increased global free trade

The Government will continue its efforts to liberalise global trade through the WTO for the benefit of the Danish economy, the world economy and the developing countries. The current Doha Round, which in particular focuses on the developing countries’ integration and opportunities in the global economy, should be concluded. The WTO negotiations should, at the same time, be supplemented with bilateral and regional free trade agreements to a greater extent.

Strengthened transatlantic economic cooperation

The Government wishes to maintain and develop the relations between Europe and the USA into a true transatlantic partnership across the board – in the security, political and economic areas. The Government’s long-term vision is to establish an actual transatlantic market place as part of the initiatives to strengthen the transatlantic ties and as part of the response to the challenges from, among others, Asia. Through the EU, the Government will strengthen transatlantic trade relations and strengthen economic integration.

Action plans for Denmark’s cooperation with India and China

With a view to implementing the Asia Strategy, the Government will in the first instance draw up action plans for cooperation with India and China, respectively. This is to contribute to strengthening cooperation with these countries on political, economic and cultural issues, including cooperation on energy, the environment and climate change.

Marketing Denmark

The Government wishes to strengthen other countries’ knowledge of Denmark’s strengths and competencies. The Government wishes, among other things, through the new Marketing Denmark Fund, to attract major events to Denmark.


International security and stability

Global threats and challenges require global, common solutions to an increasing extent. Denmark’s security is best safeguarded through a strengthened European and transatlantic cooperation based on common values and through the promotion of international cooperation, especially within the UN.

With the strengthening of the EU’s common foreign and security policy in the new EU Treaty, the Government will work for a significant enhancement of the global role of the EU. The Government supports the fact that the EU, to an increasing degree, assumes responsibility for military and civilian crisis management tasks.

The Government will contribute to strengthening cooperation within NATO, which constitutes the foundations for Danish security and the core of a strong transatlantic partnership.

The Government will maintain Denmark’s strong international commitment to peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts. Our aim is for Denmark’s international involvement to be based on broad majorities in the Folketing.

The Government will ensure that the experience gained from Danish operations so far, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, is translated into forward-looking initiatives that can strengthen the coordination of civilian and military action in connection with Danish military engagement. There is a need for enhancing cooperation between civilian and military actors, especially because Denmark to an increasing extent is involved militarily and provides support for reconstruction activity in highly conflict-ridden and dangerous areas.

With regard to the Danish engagement in the southern part of Afghanistan, the Government will, before the end of 2007, present an overall plan for the Danish activities in the Helmand Province. In the course of 2008, the Government will present an overall multi-year Afghanistan strategy covering the period until 2012.

With regard to the Middle East, the Government will continue working on the Partnership for Progress and Reform. Regarding the Middle East peace process, Denmark will make an effort to ensure that the EU is prepared to render significant support to the region, provided there is a breakthrough in the negotiations.

With regard to Iraq, the Government will strengthen and consolidate the reconstruction efforts in the period 2008-2010. Furthermore, the Regions of Origin Initiative will be continued in 2008.

With regard to the Balkans and the Caucasus, it is important to ensure lasting and peaceful settlement of the status of Kosovo and a stable, democratic development in the Balkans and in the Caucasus.

With a view to preparing the foundations for the political discussions on a future defence agreement, the Government will set up a defence commission as soon as possible.

The Government will take the initiative to strengthen international action against piracy.

The Government will ensure the conduct of crisis management exercises are implemented at national and regional levels, including in cooperation with international partners.

The Government will remain an active partner in the international action against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Concrete initiatives:   

An analysis of the experience of a comprehensive approach in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Government will request the Danish Institute for International Studies to draw up an analysis of the specific opportunities to further strengthen the coordination of civilian and military efforts in connection with peace support operations, based first and foremost on the experience of the Danish engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Promoting the coordination of civilian and military efforts

Based on, among other things, an analysis carried out by the Danish Institute for International Studies, the Government will initiate specific measures to strengthen and ensure the implementation of military and civilian efforts in peace support operations. If the situation in an area complicates or hampers the work of civilian organisations, the armed forces are to be able to contribute to performing these tasks.

Plan for the engagement in southern Afghanistan

Before the end of 2007, the Government will present an overall plan for Danish engagement in southern Afghanistan.  The plan will contain benchmarks for the military action within the NATO-led operation, for the Danish development assistance and for coordinated civil/military activities.

Afghanistan strategy

In the course of 2008, the Government will present an overall Afghanistan Strategy 2008-2012 which, in continuation of the Afghanistan Strategy 2005-2009, sets out the main principles and framework for the Danish assistance and military effort in Afghanistan.

The Middle East

The Government will continue working on the Partnership for Progress and Reform and make an effort to ensure that the EU is prepared to render significant support to the region, provided there is a breakthrough in the negotiations regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Iraq

The Government has already allocated DKK 100 million to the Regions of Origin Initiative for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons in 2008. Furthermore, the Government wishes to strengthen and consolidate the reconstruction efforts in Iraq in 2008-2010 by earmarking another DKK 100 million for those efforts.

The Balkans and the Caucasus

With a strengthened effort through the Neighbourhood Programme and significant participation in the new EU Mission in Kosovo, the Government will contribute to stable, democratic development in the Balkans and in the Caucasus.

Defence Commission

The Government will set up a defence commission for the purpose of preparing a new defence agreement for the post-2009 period.

Piracy

The Government will present initiatives regarding the fight against piracy, including the deployment of Danish naval ships, a strengthening of the international framework to combat piracy, and capacity building in the fragile states from which pirates typically operate.

Emergency preparedness

The Government will strengthen the conduct of crisis management exercises nationally and regionally with a view to ensuring effective coordination of efforts in connection with major incidents and crises inside and outside of Denmark.


A freer and fairer world

In the years ahead, the Government will continue to place a strong focus on democracy and human rights. Denmark will strengthen the effort in the EU and the UN with a view to promoting human rights. This applies, among other things, to the debate about the relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Denmark will also take initiatives in the international cooperation to ensure that the fight against terrorism is conducted with due respect for human rights.

Over a number of years, the Government will aim at raising the level of Danish development assistance. Denmark is to remain among the countries that provide the highest level of assistance. At the same time, the Government will improve the quality of Danish development assistance even further and maintain a targeted focus on the fight against global poverty. Furthermore, the Government will set up a special climate change fund to help especially poor countries in the struggle to adjust to and limit the man-made climate change.

Moreover, the Government will strengthen the Danish Regions of Origin Initiative in the period up to 2010.

The Government will set up an Africa Commission that is to draw up recommendations for ways in which Denmark can best contribute to enabling Africa to achieve progress and development, including in relation to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The Government will introduce initiatives for a special international effort with respect to the UN Millennium Development Goal no. 3 on promoting gender equality and empowering women.

The Government will draw up a strategy for the Danish development assistance with a view to fostering democracy and the rule of law, and upgrade the Danish effort in fragile states that constitute a special challenge to the development assistance efforts and the work for freedom, democracy and human rights.

And the Government will strengthen the climate and energy aspects of the Danish development assistance.

Concrete initiatives:

Promoting the effort for human rights

The Government will introduce initiatives in the EU and the UN to promote the effort for human rights. This includes the debate on the relationship between religion and freedom of expression. Denmark will also take initiatives in the international cooperation to ensure that the fight against terrorism is conducted with due respect for human rights.

Increased assistance that makes a difference

It is the Government’s aim over a number of years to raise the development assistance from the current level of 0.8 per cent of GNI. The specific realisation of this aim will be decided in connection with the annual negotiations on the Finance and Appropriation Act and will be prioritised within the sustainable framework of the Government’s 2015 plan. The Government will maintain the focus on poverty reduction and ensure that the Danish development assistance first and foremost benefits Africa. At the same time, the Government will set up a climate change fund that is to gradually increase from DKK 100 million in 2008 to DKK 500 million in 2012. The effort is to help especially the poorest countries in the world to adjust to and limit the man-made climate change. Furthermore, the Government will upgrade the work on documenting the results of the Danish development assistance.

Strengthened Regions of Origin Initiative

The Government wishes to strengthen the effort to assist refugees in regions of origin. Up to 2010, the Government will reinforce the Regions of Origin Initiative by DKK 100 million.

Africa Commission

It is the Government’s aim that at least two-thirds of the bilateral development assistance should be allocated to Africa. With a view to securing maximum effect of the assistance, an Africa Commission will be set up. The Commission is to analyse the results of the Danish development assistance to Africa up to now. Furthermore, the Commission is to draw up proposals for a future strategy which most effectively can contribute to combating poverty and ensuring development in Africa, including by promoting the UN Millennium Development Goals. The Africa Commission is to submit its recommendations before the 2009 summer recess.

Promoting the UN Millennium Development Goal no. 3 on empowering women

The Government will launch initiatives for a special international effort to support the UN Millennium Development Goal no. 3 on promoting gender equality and empowering women. As part of the prioritisation of the Danish development assistance, the assistance for promoting women’s rights and opportunities will be doubled from 2008 up to 2010.

Democracy and the rule of law in the development assistance

In 2008, the Government will draw up a strategy for the Danish development assistance efforts regarding democracy and the rule of law in the developing countries.

Fragile states

In 2008, the Government will draw up guideline principles for strengthened and more coherent Danish development assistance efforts in fragile states.


Denmark at the heart of Europe

The EU is the key framework for cooperation in Europe. It is in Denmark’s interest that the common challenges and problems of Europe are resolved in a democratic, cooperating and strong EU with common rules for all.

It is extremely encouraging that agreement has been reached on a new Treaty that is to be ratified in the course of 2008. The Treaty ensures a more democratic, decisive and effective EU and strengthens the international role of the EU. With the Treaty, the necessary framework for future EU cooperation has been achieved.

The Government is very pleased that a new Treaty will improve the prospects of solving important international problems such as climate change, organised crime and terrorism.

The agreement on the new Treaty implies that, for some time to come, a halt has been called to the discussions about the framework for the EU. It means that it will now be possible to focus on the substance and results of the specific policies pursued in the EU.

The Government finds it of great importance that the new opportunities of the Treaty are used for creating targeted results and for Denmark to have an impact on the development of EU policies in compliance with Danish views. This applies, for example, to increased growth and employment, a socially balanced development, an ambitious climate and energy policy, a continuously strong environmental profile, comprehensive reforms of the agricultural policy and a high standard of animal welfare. Furthermore, the EU is to assume greater global responsibility, and the EU is to strengthen the action against terrorism and cross-border crime.

The Government wishes, furthermore, to continue pursuing a responsible enlargement policy. Similarly, the effort vis-à-vis the neighbouring countries of the EU is to be strengthened in order to contribute to reforms and modernisation in these countries.

The Government finds that our interests are best served by Denmark being fully integrated in the EU cooperation. It is the only way we can benefit fully from our EU membership and, at the same time, make our contribution to the community in a spirit of solidarity.

The new Treaty does not as such directly affect the Danish opt-outs that will be carried forward into the Treaty. However, the Treaty opens up for the possibility that Denmark – after a referendum – may decide to participate in the cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs on a case-by-case basis.

The new Treaty means that Denmark will be excluded from a major part of the cooperation. It is the opinion of the Government that the 1993 opt-outs are no longer relevant. They are the product of different times and special circumstances. Therefore, The Government wishes the voters to have the opportunity to decide on the opt-outs by referendum.

The Government finds it of great importance that there is broad support for the Danish EU policy also in the future.

The Government will, therefore, endeavour to conclude a renewed political agreement about the basis for the Danish EU policy with a broad representation of the parties in the Folketing.

Such an agreement is to contribute to providing Danish EU policy with a strong platform for continued active, result-oriented and proactive Danish EU policy in the years ahead.

Concrete initiatives:

The global responsibility of the EU  

The Government will make an effort to ensure that the greater international visibility and impact that the EU will have with the new Treaty is used in the best possible manner. The EU must assume greater global responsibility and contribute to strengthening freedom, democracy, human rights and the international legal system. The EU must combat international terrorism and contribute to eradicating poverty and its distressing symptoms, including a special effort to develop cooperation with Africa even further. 

An ambitious climate and energy policy

The Government will use the EU to promote an ambitious climate policy that can pave the way for a future global climate agreement. The EU has already demonstrated leadership with the decision to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent in 2020 as part of a global agreement. The challenge now is to develop a common EU energy policy that places considerable emphasis on the importance of renewable energy, and we must set up an efficient, European energy market.

Fight against transnational threats

The Government will make an effort to ensure that EU cooperation provides security for the citizens by combating threats such as terrorism and cross-border crime. The Government would also like the EU to play a greater role with regard to solving refugee problems and combating unlawful immigration.

Growth and employment

The Government will endeavour to strengthen the EU as a framework for growth and employment in an increasingly globalised world. The EU is to take the lead in international efforts to dismantle trade barriers and promote a multilateral trading system. We must, at the same time, strengthen and develop the internal market further and secure the competitive power of the EU for the future through economic reforms and increased emphasis on research, development, innovation and education.

Strengthened internal market for the benefit of Danish growth and consumers

The Government will make an effort to ensure that the EU continues to develop and improve the internal market for the benefit of Danish enterprises and citizens. The Government will work for better control of imports from countries outside the EU, among other things through better coordination of Member States’ efforts.

A socially sustainable EU

The EU cooperation is to rest on a socially sustainable basis and to support the European welfare societies. The organisation of the welfare society should remain a national task, but the EU cooperation is also to contain a social dimension.

High level of protection

The Government will strive to improve the quality of the environment and raise the level of protection in present and future Member States. And to ensure that EU rules are based on high standards regarding food safety, consumer protection and animal welfare.

Reforms of the common agricultural policy

The Government wishes to dismantle EU farm subsidies. Therefore, the Government will draw up a strategy for ways in which Denmark can work actively for abolishing the EU agricultural support. The Government will work for comprehensive reforms, including increased market orientation and a more free trade-orientated agricultural policy.

A responsible and consistent enlargement policy

The EU enlargement process has led to freedom, democracy and economic progress in the new EU Member States. The perspective of membership will also in the future be an important element of the EU policy. The Government attaches great importance to a consistent and responsible enlargement policy with focus on each candidate country’s fulfilment of the Copenhagen Criteria, just as the EU for its part must be prepared to admit new countries. The enlargement process regarding Turkey will continue within the agreed framework. The EU must continue to assume responsibility for the countries in the Balkans. The perspective of EU membership must be perceived as credible even if membership is a longer-term matter.

Close cooperation with the neighbouring countries of the EU

The EU must offer targeted support for the wishes of the neighbouring countries of the EU to establish closer cooperation through a coherent and balanced neighbourhood policy, with emphasis on the new neighbours towards the east. The neighbourhood policy is to contribute to promoting the reform process in these countries and thus pave the way for their modernisation and gradual integration into the internal market of the EU. Through our own policy vis-à-vis the neighbouring countries, Denmark will continue to contribute to the reform process and further development.

New political agreement on the EU policy

The Government wishes to take forward the broad agreement on the EU policy in the form of a new political agreement based on the opportunities provided by the new Treaty.

Referendum on the opt-outs

The Government wishes to give the electorate the opportunity to decide on the opt-outs by referendum.


Up-to-date cooperation within the Unity of the Realm

The Government will continue to develop the close cooperation and the good results achieved since 2001. We will strengthen the self-government of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The recommendations presented by the Greenland-Danish Self-Government Commission will provide us with the basis for developing self-government in Greenland. And within the framework of the transfer of competence legislation of 2005, it is possible today for the Faroe Islands to decide to take over most fields of responsibility. We will at the same time, based on the wishes of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, continue the development of cooperation relations, including cooperation regarding areas for which the Faroe Islands and Greenland have assumed responsibility.

Concrete initiatives:

Modernisation of the relations between Denmark and Greenland

The Greenland-Danish Self-Government Commission (set up in June 2004) is to propose an arrangement enabling the Greenland authorities to assume further responsibility within the framework of the Unity of the Realm. The Danish Government and the Greenland Home Rule Government will discuss the Commission’s recommendations prior to the submission of any bills to the Folketing.

Reform of the Greenland legal system

On the basis of the recommendations of the Greenland Legal System Commission, a reform of the Greenland legal system is to be carried out. The reform will include, among other things, a new Administration of Justice Act and a new Criminal Code for Greenland as well as the establishment of closed facilities in Greenland for persons convicted of an imprisonable offence.

Support for specific Faroe Islands and Greenland foreign policy initiatives

The Government will continue to support the efforts of the Faroe Islands regarding membership of EFTA as well as similar Faroe Islands and Greenland foreign policy initiatives within the framework of the Authorisation Act schemes.

Research into climate change regarding sea currents around the Faroe Islands

The Government will take the initiate to launch a programme for research into climate change regarding sea currents around the Faroe Islands, which will include North Atlantic-related research environments.

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