Denmark Scraps Public Holiday to Boost Defense Budget
On Tuesday, Denmark's parliament voted 95-68 to abolish 'Great Prayer Day' — a springtime religious holiday observed since the 17th century — to boost military spending....
- On Tuesday, Denmark's parliament voted 95-68 to abolish 'Great Prayer Day' — a springtime religious holiday observed since the 17th century — to boost military spending.1
- Canceling the public holiday would give the government an additional 3B Danish Crowns ($427M) to state coffers thanks to an extra 7.4 hours of labor per worker.2
- The government argues most of the extra 4.5B Danish crowns ($639M) needed to meet the NATO defense spending target of 2% of GDP by 2030 will be covered by high tax revenues anticipated from abolishing the holiday.3
- In addition, the government maintains the plan to raise the defense budget to meet NATO's target by 2030 instead of 2033 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.4
- In early February, 50K people gathered outside the parliament in Copenhagen to protest Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's proposal, which she claimed was essential for 'defense and security, health care, psychiatry, and the green transition.'5
- The loss of the holiday has triggered a backlash, with opposition lawmakers calling the vote 'foolish,' 'crazy,' and 'totally wrong.' At the same time, trade unions launched an online petition that gathered nearly 500K signatures.6
Sources: 1BBC News, 2The defense post, 3Reuters, 4Bloomberg, 5Dw and 6Washington Post.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The local denmark. Scrapping a holiday associated with important Danish traditions to increase productivity is unacceptable. It's unfair to make hardworking Danes cover the cost of corporation tax cuts and fill the coffers of high-net-worth individuals with their well-earned holiday. Moreover, the decision interferes with many young people's long-standing plans to attend Church of Denmark confirmation ceremonies around the Great Prayer Day.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Associated press. There is war in Europe, and as Denmark braces for uncertain geopolitical and economic times, the nation needs to strengthen its defenses. It is not only ordinary Danes paying for the challenging situation — the coalition is also advancing a plan to impose tax hikes on the upper class to boost finances so that the country can meet NATO's military spending target by 2030.