Denmark’s coalition authorities of the Social Democrats and two right-wing events rammed a proposal via parliament final week to abolish a public vacation in order to safe further funding for the nation’s armed forces. The marketing campaign to scrap the general public vacation has gone hand-in-hand with a large propaganda marketing campaign to painting Denmark as underneath speedy risk from a Russian assault and due to this fact pressured to arm itself to the enamel.
Prime Minister and Social Democrat chief Mette Frederiksen repeatedly declared within the lead-up to the vote that the choice to abolish nice prayer day (retailer bededag), which has been a public vacation in Denmark because the seventeenth century, was crucial attributable to “struggle in Europe.” Talking after the parliamentary vote, she declared that the choice was applicable given the “safety coverage state of affairs,” and would enable the federal government to spend extra on defence.
The proposal was launched final December within the coalition settlement for the present Social Democrat/Liberal/Average authorities. Negotiations on the settlement lasted for effectively over a month following the November 1 common election and resulted within the first coalition authorities between events from the standard “left” and “proper” blocs in over 4 a long time. Whereas the Social Democrats have lengthy led the “left” or crimson bloc, the Liberals are Denmark’s largest right-wing social gathering. The Moderates are a brand new creation of former Liberal Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, an in depth ally of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who supported the struggle in Iraq and went on to develop into NATO secretary-general with backing from the USA.
The federal government claims it might save 3.2 billion kroner (about €400 million) by including a day to the working yr. Some 700 million kroner of this complete can be raised by annulling an computerized improve in state advantages in 2026, relatively than rising them in step with the 0.45 p.c pay rise employees will obtain to compensate for having to work an additional day. This freeze will hit pensioners and college students, amongst others. The cash is meant to assist the federal government attain the NATO goal of spending 2 p.c of GDP by 2030, three years forward of the timetable agreed by the Social Democrat minority authorities and several other opposition events instantly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The transfer stays deeply unpopular and was by no means raised throughout final yr’s election marketing campaign. On 5 February of this yr, an illustration of fifty,000 folks in Copenhagen, the biggest demonstration within the capital in over a decade, organised by the principle commerce union federation FH, protested the abolition of the general public vacation. The sentiment dominating the demonstration was that workloads within the public sector have been already so nice following a long time of austerity that the lack of a vacation was insupportable.
In the course of the intervening month, a scientific effort to whip up militarism and painting Denmark as a frontline state underneath speedy risk of assault has been underneath method. On 15 February, the Danish authorities introduced it might take part within the European Sky Protect Initiative, a German-led plan for continent-wide air defence programs. Whereas preliminary focus can be on short- and medium-range surface-to-air missiles, studies famous that ballistic capabilities may very well be added sooner or later, i.e., the potential to struggle wars with nuclear weapons.
Over the weekend, public broadcaster DR carried a distinguished report on a navy train by the Dwelling Guard, a division of the armed forces consisting primarily of volunteers, on the island of Bornholm, in preparation for a Russian invasion. Bornholm lies within the Baltic Sea and is Denmark’s most easterly level. The as but unexplained destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which veteran journalist Seymour Hersh uncovered as a US-led operation, passed off a number of kilometers off the Bornholm coast.
The Royal Danish Air Pressure is presently concerned in joint workouts with the US. The manoeuvres, scheduled to run from 6 to 16 March, contain Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, which is because of substitute Denmark’s fleet of F-16s in levels over the following three years. Lars Loekke Rasmussen’s Liberal authorities agreed to the acquisition of 27 F-35s in 2016 at an estimated price of €2.8 billion, making it the biggest single defence buy in Denmark’s historical past.
Denmark presently spends round 1.4 p.c of its GDP on defence. To hit the 2030 goal, defence spending might want to develop by near 50 p.c, when financial development is taken into consideration. To fund this main hike, the federal government is planning a complete assault on public spending and strikes to extend labour productiveness.
Two days after final Tuesday’s parliamentary vote to abolish the general public vacation, the federal government tabled a plan to reform grasp’s diploma programmes at Denmark’s universities. The reform will see half of all grasp’s levels minimize from two years to at least one, with most of these impacted anticipated to be within the social sciences and humanities. A heavier focus can be positioned on vocational levels and different types of coaching. One of many targets of the reform is to extend total labour market participation by 6,000 employees.
There is no such thing as a principled opposition to the undermining of employees’ social and democratic rights to pay for the militarisation of society. A number of events voted in opposition to the proposal to scrap retailer bededag in parliament and backed the protests, together with on the “left” the Socialist Individuals’s Get together and the Crimson-Inexperienced Alliance, and, on the correct, the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance, the far-right Danish Individuals’s Get together and Denmark Democrats, and the New Proper. However they’ve all endorsed in a method or one other elevated navy spending and again the US-led struggle on Russia.
The Socialist Individuals’s Get together (SF) supported the preliminary defence settlement from March 2022 that dedicated Denmark to reaching the two p.c goal for defence spending by 2033. Frederiksen’s minority Social Democrat authorities was solely able to guide the talks on that deal as a result of SF and the Crimson-Inexperienced Alliance (RGA), referred to as the Unity Record in Danish, secured a parliamentary majority for the Social Democrats between 2019 and 2022. The RGA is Denmark’s precept pseudo-left social gathering, together with amongst its members the Pabloite Socialist Staff Get together. At its newest congress in Could 2022, the RGA deserted its name for a withdrawal from NATO.
As for the right-wing and far-right events, their primary criticism was that the abolition of retailer bededag was an assault on the church and on “Danish custom,” and that financial savings needs to be discovered elsewhere to finance the navy spending improve.
Current occasions in Denmark are a part of a extra common pattern throughout Europe. In neighbouring Sweden, the right-wing authorities, which depends on help from the fascistic Sweden Democrats to stay in energy, is implementing a 64 p.c hike in defence spending by 2028, which can be funded via assaults on public providers and social spending. In France, mass protests have developed in opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to undermine employees’ pension rights in order to assist fund a large €400 billion funding within the navy. In Germany, the Social Democratic-led authorities launched the Bundeswehr (armed forces) particular fund of €100 billion and is now getting ready the way in which for even larger defence spending will increase. In the meantime, it slashed the well being care finances by two-thirds in a single yr and is within the strategy of imposing a below-inflation pay settlement on public-sector employees.
Because the European sections of the Worldwide Committee of the Fourth Worldwide defined in a February 2023 assertion titled “The mass strike motion, struggle and the revolutionary disaster in Europe:”
[O]place to struggle is changing into a decisive consider social and political protests and an open political confrontation between the capitalists and the employees… Explosive social anger is fueling the continent-wide strike motion of the working class that’s a sophisticated expression of an rising international eruption of the category battle. The decisive query is to develop within the working class the consciousness that its struggles in opposition to the employers and the nationwide governments are a part of an objectively united, worldwide offensive of the working class in opposition to capitalism.