Denmark: Government Set To Scrap Public Holiday To Boost Defense Budget

Denmark's new coalition government, which was unveiled on Thursday, has announced that one of the country's 11 public holidays — most likely the Great Prayer Day — will be dropped in order to boost productivity and economic activity.

Denmark: Government Set To Scrap Public Holiday To Boost Defense Budget
Image credit: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock [via Financial Times]

Facts

  • Denmark's new coalition government, which was unveiled on Thursday, has announced that one of the country's 11 public holidays — most likely the Great Prayer Day — will be dropped in order to boost productivity and economic activity.
  • The holiday, known as Store Bededag in Danish, falls on the Friday before the fourth Sunday after Easter and has been celebrated by Danes since 1686. The date has traditionally been a popular day for confirmation ceremonies.
  • The news comes as Copenhagen seeks to meet NATO's target of spending two percent of GDP on defense, with PM Mette Frederiksen pointing to the Ukraine war to explain the country's need to strengthen its defenses. The decision to scrap the holiday has drawn criticism from business and church leaders.
  • Meanwhile, the coalition government has announced further plans to boost productivity amid rising energy prices and the highest inflation seen in four decades. The planned measures include over $700M in tax cuts and an overhaul of the country's welfare model.
  • PM Frederiksen was forced to call early elections following her handling of the culling of all of Denmark's 17M minks, but she was able to remain in power by proposing a centrist coalition to address the Ukraine war and the twin energy and cost of living crises.
  • The three-party coalition, which has broken the traditional left-right divide for the first time in more than four decades, comprises Frederiksen's Social Democrats, the Liberals, and the Moderates — it accounts for a combined 89 seats in the 179-seat parliament following November's elections.

Sources: BBC News, RT, Telegraph, Reuters, Financial Times, and Politico.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The Local. This decision made by the Danish centrist coalition has been criticized by both sides of the political spectrum. Making Danes cover the cost of tax cuts for companies and the rich with their well-earned and traditionally significant holiday is unjust. It also interferes with the long-standing plans of many young people who intend to attend Church of Denmark confirmation ceremonies around the Great Prayer Day.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Associated Press. As Denmark braces for uncertain geopolitical and economic times, harsh measures must be taken. The centrist coalition is planning to get rid of this popular, one-day public holiday in 2024 with the aim of boosting finance's, so that the country has a chance of meeting NATO's military spending target by 2030. It is not only ordinary Danes paying for this difficult situation — the coalition is also advancing a plan to impose tax hikes on the upper class.

Predictions