Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Opening Address at the Opening of the Danish Parliament, October 3 2023

Check against delivery.

I would like to begin my speech today by talking about a very special object.

Everyone in this parliament has used it. It is at the centre of the Danish democracy. We probably do not give it that much thought.

It is the Speaker’s seat I am standing at right now. The place from which legislation in Denmark springs. And from which it has done for more than 100 years.

It was crafted in the years 1915 to 1917 by a young female cabinetmaker. Anny Berntsen.

She trained at Richardts Sløjdinstitut, a school for the women in the early 1900s who pursued the dream of becoming a craftsperson.

The young cabinetmaker started with an old oak log – a solid oak trunk – from Møn.

The podium is bolted and tapped – without using nails or screws. And the cabinetmaker made it all by hand.

The podium here is more than just a beautiful work of furniture.

It is also an example of the very special Danish craft tradition. Designed and held together by people with strong expertise.

People who work. With their hands. And with their heads.

* * *

And it starts in school.

Not too long ago, I was asked what I would be if I were not Prime Minister.

My answer came promptly, because I was not the least in doubt: I would like to be a school teacher.

Imagine being the person whose job it is to help children succeed.

To see the joy that comes when a student works out the right answer to a math problem.

To experience the pride of children when they dare to do something they normally would not. The fire in their eyes.

And perhaps best of all: when they crack the code and begin to read. To hear them say the sounds c-a-t, light up with a smile and exclaim: “CAT”.

The willpower to try again and again.

Add to that all the things you learn on your own. The challenge of looking at things from new perspectives. Because as a teacher, you meet so many children and parents who are different from you.

As a teacher, you are a person who knows something and who can do something. You are an authority.

The now deceased priest and author Johannes Møllehave said something important about authorities. And I quote:

“There has to be an authority. There has to be someone who flies the machine [...]. We have to delegate the responsibility. And we have to have respect for someone who knows something and can do something. [...] Without authorities, we cannot live.”

I agree. We must have respect for people who know something and can do something.

But do we?

* * *

Respect for the teacher begins at home with the parents. 

And the question is whether we parents are preparing our children well enough to be a part of the school community?

To cooperate? To raise their hand? To be quiet? To defer their own needs? And, yes, to respect the teacher as an authority in the classroom?

Are we parents actually helping to support the teacher as an authority? 

When I was young, my mother and father’s involvement in school was limited to the occasional parent-teacher conference. And a contact book with messages between my parents and the school such as “Mette was sick yesterday”.

They trusted me. And especially my teachers.

Today, parents communicate daily with the school and with each other on the digital platform Aula.

About everything from weekly plans, playgroups and packed lunches, to lost rubber boots.

It is a great sign of progress that we parents are more engaged in our children’s schooling. Of course.

But, as parents, are we good enough at saying to our children: “Your teacher knows what she’s doing. She did what she thought needed to be done.”

Or do we instead tell our children too often that they are right?

Do we say: “Yes, it is a shame that such and such happened. I’ll write to your teacher and get her to do something about it.”

Of course, you have to react if you discover that something is seriously wrong. If something is negatively impacting your child’s well-being.

But we must not – despite good intentions for our children – remove the teacher of the role of the adult who decides in the classroom.

And we must not solve all problems for our children. If we do, they will get a shock when they grow up and meet the world.

* * *

It makes an impression on me when a young teacher tells a newspaper that she does not want to check Aula.

Because, as she writes:

“What message ticked into my inbox now? What are the parents asking about now?”

And, as the reader can understand, we parents ask the teacher about a lot of things.

Is the teacher checking to make sure that children eat their packed lunches? Does she check the children’s spare clothes?

Does she ventilate the classroom enough?

Dear parents. “Trust us a little bit more. Give us more space. And trust.” The young teacher begs us.

And I think many of us understand her.

Because it’s not just the messages that we parents send to the school. The teacher also has to inform us about what the class has done in the past week. What they are going to do on Monday. That schoolbooks have to have book covers. And remember to comb for lice.

On the one hand, it’s good that you can stay informed about what your children have done at school.

But we have to consider all the time that is spent documenting and sending reports to us parents. This is time that cannot be spent on preparations for teaching. Or with the children.

And as if all that were not enough communication in itself, there are all the messages we parents send to each other.

About parents’ parties. Christmas get-togethers. Camp trips. Board meetings. Well-being committee meetings.

I have yet to meet parents who are really happy about everything that Aula brings with it.

Therefore, it is tempting to simply stop using Aula.

And, of course, we can and must discuss whether it was wise that we took the initiative some years ago to establish this platform.

But the discussion is broader that just that. It is essentially about how we can avoid slice away at the teacher’s authority.

How we can ensure more order in the classroom. Children who can take responsibility and solve problems themselves.

This is something that we should all think about. Including at the local level, on each individual school’s board.

In the same way that many schools have had a discussion about how much screens should be a part of the lives of children and young people. How addicted they have become to their mobile phones.

Many schools have now introduced screen rules. Or they have completely banned the use of mobile phones during school hours. And they have taken a critical look at how much of the teaching in the classroom needs to take place behind a screen.

Thank you for these efforts. Let us have even more schools where play is once again in focus. Where children are outside more. This is probably the cheapest and smartest way to improve well-being.

And let us have even more schools where there is greater respect for the fact that there is somebody who knows something and can do something. For the teacher.

* * *

As meaningful as it must feel for a teacher to see children succeed, it must cause feelings of inadequacy when children fail.

And, unfortunately, it happens too often.

The oldest pupils celebrate completing their last day of lower secondary school after 10 years of schooling. After more than 2,000 hours of Danish classes. And after more than 1,000 hours of mathematics classes. And still, one in every seven pupils has not learned to properly read, write and do maths.

That is nearly 7,000 children every single year. “Who grew. And went askew. And stand in queue on the road of life.”

And I don’t even know if that is the worst part anymore.

Or whether it is the fact that the statistics have been like this for many years.

Despite numerous political initiatives. Increasing the amount of Danish classes. New partnerships. Most recently, we decided to reduce the maximum class size for the youngest classes.

In spite of it all.

And even though today we use more money per student in the Danish primary and lower secondary school.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Even though today we use more money per student in the Danish primary and lower secondary school.

We as a society have not yet managed to reverse this trend. It is deeply depressing.

And it presents us with a choice. Either we can throw in the towel. Give up. Decide that all efforts are futile.

That, in my view, is not a choice.

Or else it can make us even more insistent that this time we will succeed.

That it must be possible.

But with the humility of accepting that we can no longer claim a single measure will solve everything.

We have to address the full circle of issues.

Maybe listen a little more to the students themselves. Involve them in the process.

And instead of controlling the school down to the smallest details, we must have the courage to give the classroom back to the teacher who is actually trained for the task.

* * *

One number says it all. 1,081.

That is how many mandatory, politically set goals teachers in primary and lower secondary school have to manage.

There are more than 250 goals for teaching physical education alone. Let me read one of these for you now:

“The student can assess sporting cultural norms, values and relations in a societal perspective.”


Could this be because a disproportionate number of us in this parliament were chosen last when playing football in school? So instead, we’ve stuffed a lot of theory and overly abstract concepts into PE classes?

Of course, there must also be learning in PE. But sometimes it can also just be about playing a game of dodgeball.

And as if it weren’t enough with 1,081 mandatory goals. On top of that, there are 3,170 so-called “indicative” goals.

So there are more than 4,000 common goals that teachers and schools must deal with, navigate, and meet when teaching our children.

That is far, far, far too many.

Next week, we will present the Government’s proposal for a new primary and lower secondary school.

Here, we will propose that for every ten existing goals today, we will eliminate nine of them.

This means that we will eliminate more than 3,800 mandatory and indicative goals. We must set the primary and lower secondary school free.

With greater freedom comes higher expectations and demands on you as teachers.

Helle Bjerg, a former education researcher and now headmaster of a school in Frederiksberg, said something important about expectations of the teacher. And I quote:

“[The teacher] must, on the one hand, master an equitable relationship with the students. And, at the same time, be an authority who says: I am the one in charge. I am the one who sets the framework. I am the school.”

Unfortunately, some teachers only succeed at one of these things. Seeing eye-to-eye with the students.

Since the 1970s, teachers have moved away from the lectern and out into the classroom. Good. Because the distance between teacher and student was far too great.

But it can also be too little.

* * *

I will return to the schools later in this speech.

The strong focus of the Government on education and setting the public sector free is exactly about the fact that all of you children and young people will carry this fantastic society forward into the future. About you having the best opportunities for this task.

And because we have reached a point where more money no longer solves all problems.

I myself have said that the currency of the new era in Danish politics is the ability to enact policy that can ensure a sufficient labour force.

This is also why the Government has proposed a targeted pay raise in the public sector, which we are now negotiating with the social partners.

And that is why, later this year, we will propose tax cuts for all working Danes. Wage earners with ordinary incomes. And, especially, single parents.

This focus on whether we will still have enough people in the workforce in the future. And whether we have the right professional qualifications.

Does this mean that money is unimportant? 

No. As a Government, we intend to spend significantly more money on welfare. Still, however, we must all take care to ensure that the political debate does not become too simplistic.

It is factually correct that the forthcoming 2030 plan includes a historically large fiscal space. In other words, more money. 

It is also factually correct that municipalities and regions will have more money next year than they had this year.

At the same time, it is also factually correct that a number of municipalities and regions are making cutbacks in spending.

Cutbacks that are not the result of a political desire. Neither of the country’s mayors nor of the Government.

The fact that all of this is correct – at the same time.

It is due in part to inflation.

Denmark is one of the countries in Europe where inflation has declined the most and the most rapidly. Now our task is to keep it down.

Therefore, there are limits to how much economic activity we can initiate next year.

But changes in inflation are not the only reason that local budgets are difficult to balance.

There are also many costs that continue to escalate, and not necessarily as a result of political intentions.

This includes expenses for administration and bureaucracy. Expenses for special education in primary and lower secondary schools.

And this is also the case in what is termed, somewhat bureaucratic, “the specialised social sector”.

But we must not make rash judgements. Behind these numbers are some of the citizens who need a strong welfare society the most.

Vulnerable children and young people. Adults with disabilities. People experiencing mental suffering. 

I know that you do not always receive the help and support that you can rightly expect from a wealthy country.

And this is in spite of the fact that the municipalities have increased their spending in the sector by more than 4.5 billion Danish kroner in the past five years.

This may indicate that more money is not the only thing needed. But that we must also look into whether we can spend the money more wisely.

Just one example:

Assisted living homes are a form of housing where adults with special needs can receive the care, help and support they need.

The expenses for assisted living homes have increased significantly.

Not only because there is a growing need. But also, because the cost of the existing assisted living homes has significantly increased. 

So, what is the answer going forward? 

Yes, among other things, to build more assisted living housing. 

And this is exactly what the Government has agreed upon with the municipalities.

As in so many other areas, it is rarely only a question of more or less money.

If we want to make change. If we want to get a grip on what really matters. Then we have to dig a little deeper – at the least.

* * *

This is also where things really get interesting. When we have to make a difficult decision. Sometimes between two options that are either equally good or equally bad.

A dilemma.

You can hear the weekly P4 radio show “Sara & Monopolet” discuss various personal dilemmas. And they do a good job. But she also only has three people on the panel with her on that show.

Here, we are 179 people tasked with solving the political dilemmas of our time.

If you think that it can be a hassle sometimes, just be glad that we are not communicating with each other via Aula.

And one of the dilemmas that will emerge more clearly in the coming years:

Consideration for the climate versus consideration of nature and the environment. Consideration for the green transition versus consideration for neighbours and the ability to lodge complaints.

We might as well start this discussion now. Because it is not easy.

In Denmark today, we have more than 4,000 wind turbines on land. But in recent years, the addition of new wind turbines has nearly come to a halt.

Two years ago, 45 wind turbines were installed on land. Last year, the number was down to 33.

And so far, this year, only four new wind turbines have been installed. It is not only on land that we face this challenge.

If I were to formulate it as a dilemma sent in to the “Sara & Monopolet” radio show, it would go something like this:

“Dear Sara and the always wonderful Monopol panel,

My name is Mette, and I would really like to see some wind turbines installed quickly.

I think that we are too dependent on gas – not from Preben, but from Putin. And we also need to hurry if we are to fight climate change.

Fortunately, there are some people who want to install wind turbines. For example, off the coast of Stevns on Zealand.

But this is also an area where bats and migratory birds like to fly.

And the people who want to install the wind turbines have not counted how many bats fly around in the area in the spring and autumn.

Therefore, this project is now delayed.

What does the Monopol panel think? Did the people who want to install wind turbines fail to properly prepare for the project? And are bats more important than wind turbines?

Sincerely, Mette”

From here, the host Sara Bro would take over.

And no matter who was on the Monopol guest panel that day, I would be interested to hear the discussion.

If Søren Pind were on the panel, I think he would say that the bats should just avoid the wind turbine blades.

Still, though, it is not that simple.

We cannot avoid dealing with the fact that the massive expansion of renewable energy, which we all want to see, will sometimes come at the cost of nature right where it is installed.

And if the green transition is to go faster. If other considerations must give way.

Then we have to take initiatives in other ways to also improve the conditions for nature and the environment. And, of course, we must also ensure proper compensation for the neighbours who are affected.

Because we are not only living in a climate crisis. We are also living in a nature and biodiversity crisis.

Take our many fjords, for example. The view above the water is as beautiful as always. Beneath the surface, they are devoid of life. We must reduce nitrogen emissions.

We will continue our work on the forthcoming national nature parks. And we must take better care of our endangered species.

Fortunately, many people want to do something about this. More than 15,000 Danes participated in Denmark’s first ever national count of hedgehogs.

More than 25,000 live and dead hedgehogs were registered.

Now we can track the developments over time. Protect the hedgehogs. Which, by the way, go into hibernation now from October until May.

It is somewhat the reverse of the Danish Parliament.

Even though there rarely is time to go into hibernation in politics.

When I was recently on a bus tour with the Government leadership, we visited Odense Harbour.

Here, they build the components for offshore wind turbines. These components are now so huge that they are best built at the harbour and shipped out to sea from there.

They are almost impossible to transport by land.

This is one of the reasons that Odense Harbour would like to expand. But according to the harbour, the process can take up to 10 years.

You might think that the actual construction process just takes a long time. Don’t we all know a craftsman who sometimes runs behind schedule?

But that is not the case here.

The actual physical expansion of the harbour takes about two years.

Preparing the necessary studies, applications, getting the project approved and, not least, the risk of complaints along the way that can put the project on hold – all of this can take up to eight years, according to the harbour.

The rest of the world are not quite as patient.

And if Denmark and Europe do not speed up.

We will not only fail in our responsibility to accelerate the green transition.

We will also lose the international competition to be where the green companies of the future establish operations.

We have a self-image that Denmark is one of the most ambitious countries in the world when it comes to the climate.

And we are. That is true. But we set up too many stumbling blocks for the climate fight.

So, our advantage depends on whether we can handle the dilemmas, and whether we can attract the most talented companies and employees.

* * *

And this takes us back to the question of education.

Because realising the green transition every single day is, in reality, a big construction project.

But it is also a construction project that risks stalling if more young people do not choose to take a skilled education.

Is one of the reasons that so many young people choose upper secondary school so that they keep more options open later in life?

Is another explanation that primary and lower secondary school today is too much about abstract thinking?

Methodological considerations. Theories. Project work. Analyses. Even in subjects that should have a clear practical focus.

Such as home economics, where three out of four competence goals are not about being able to cook.

Instead, they are about being able to justify the choice of ingredients and interpreting meals with an understanding of values, culture and living conditions.

Take, for example, the student who prepared a perfectly poached egg for his home economics exam. But because he could not explain which chemical reactions occur in the simmering water that cause the egg white to form a sphere around the soft-boiled egg yolk – the exam resulted in a disappointment.

To put it a little bluntly: You shouldn’t be able to argue your way out of not being able to boil an egg.

* * *

More practical content in primary and lower secondary school subjects would benefit many, many students.

But even that probably would not change the fact that a group of children still would grow tired of school.

For many years, we have tried to whip them through eighth and ninth grade. Day after day, they have felt inadequate.

And they have gained yet another bad memory of what it is like to go to school and learn. Because they have not learned much other than that they weren’t good enough.

Instead of trying something new, we should actually go back to something old that perhaps worked better.

The apprenticeship.

The opportunity for students who are tired of school to come out to a company, for example, one day a week. Maybe two days.

Where you can work on concrete tasks. Discover that you have the ability to do something well. Strengthen your self-confidence. Your identity. Your belief in the future.

Maybe it will even give you a greater desire to learn the things you are missing in Danish and maths.

And we are not stopping there.

Or, rather: We are not starting there.

Because, in reality, the teachers know much earlier which students have a hard time cracking the code when it comes to reading.

We cannot wait until the final years of lower secondary school to identify these students.

Therefore, the Government also proposes that students with the greatest difficulties in Danish and maths can receive intensive instruction in small groups.

Because this is not about saying that some students should just forget about books and only use their hands. That some are practical, while others are more into books.

That is wrong. That is false. 

It is about the simple fact that we learn in different ways.

Nobody can make it in life today without being able to read, write and do maths.

Some of the Danish youth who recently participated in the European championships in craftsmanship put it very precisely. 

One of them is Jakob. He is a carpenter. And prior to the competition, he said: “My calculator is my best friend.”

A talented craftsman is a person whose head and hands work together.

* * *

And this topic of working together.

We must also do that here in the Danish Parliament. 

I am happy to head a government that consistently seeks cooperation with other parties.

Nine out of ten agreements are reached with parties both to the left and right of the Government. 

And throughout the Danish Realm, we seek close and respectful cooperation. With room for the differences that are naturally part of being three countries. These discussions can be robust.

I think that all of us here in the Danish Parliament must expect that the Realm will increasingly resemble what we know from other political contexts. 

In a modern reality, there will be disagreements in the Realm.

I do not see this as contradicting with the good results we create together.

But, in my view, it reflects the fact that we are moving away from what was previously an unequal balance of power.

This is, fundamentally, a sign of health.

There was once a time where you had Denmark, and after came two other countries in the Realm.

That is over now.

It is not Denmark that will decide the future for Greenland or the Faroe Islands. That is a decision belonging to Nuuk and Tórshavn.

But as long as we have a Realm. And, personally, I hope that we will for many years to come. Then it must be an equitable cooperation between three countries, three people, three governments.

And three languages.

Which can now also be spoken from the podium here.

I welcome the decision by the Presidium of the Danish Parliament whereby, from now on, Greenlandic and Faroese may be spoken in what is our common parliament.

Because, of course, language is a core part of our identity.

* * *

That also applies here in Denmark. Where, unfortunately, the dialects are slowly disappearing from the Danish language.

Have you noticed that when you listen to debates here in the chamber?

It is rare that you can hear the difference between where each of us comes from.

Even though I know that one of us tries once in a while. Mr. Bjarne Lausten. From Himmerland.

He uses the expression “nemligja”. Apparently as a protest against the Copenhageners’ expression, “præcis”.

Because, as he has said: “It’s enough to drive you crazy to hear the way they say ‘præcis’ all the time. Especially because most Copenhageners today come from Jutland.”

Mr. Bjarne Lausten has also initiated a hearing with the expression “pråligeåhørher”.

So, pråligeåhørher [listen up here].

Denmark is a country that speaks with a loud voice in the rest of the world. We are listened to.

And not just because we can speak English well. But because we always do what we say we are going to do.

“Leading by example”, as they say in English. We do not seem to have a similar expression in Danish. We just do it.

Lead the way in the support of Ukraine.

Inspire others with an ambitious green transition.

Insist on an asylum system that is more humane. And where, at the same time, we regain the necessary control over the EU’s external borders.

This is a role that comes with responsibility. And we must not put this role at risk because a tiny few abuse freedom of expression to intentionally insult and provoke other countries and cultures.

For centuries, the battle for democracy and freedom of expression has been about people’s right to freely speak, think and write. 

When did we arrive at the point where even level-headed intellectuals defend the right to burn other people’s books?

* * *

But it is also a role that requires a certain self-insight. We do not talk very much about this yet.

Perhaps we still have the impression that the West is the centre of the world. From the time that we sang about Africa: “the country that all children know”.

Now we call countries south of the Mediterranean “the Global South”. But what are we then? The Global North?

It is mostly on a world map that Europe is the centre of the world. Look at a globe. Or ask Andreas Mogensen. 

From now until 2030, five countries will account for nearly half of all economic growth in the world: China, India, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Meanwhile, we in the EU and the US combined will account for just over one-fifth. The centre of gravity is shifting.

Europe is losing influence. Economically. Technologically. And in terms of population size.

It is a challenging situation that will demand a lot from all of us. And if we do not want to lose the opportunity to influence others with our values, we must be even better at building bridges to other parts of the world.

It should be possible. We are known for building the world’s best bridges and when we build them, they “become truly enormous” as a Danish hip-hop band sang in the 90s. 

But the bridges that are necessary in the future. They probably require a more humility. Sensitivity. Curiosity. And understanding.

That is the only way we can counter the polarisation that is probably the 21st century’s greatest threat to democracy.

Perhaps you feel the same as I do. That there are images from the world that you will never forget.

The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. Do you remember when the Germans finally climbed over that damned wall? Freedom. Optimism.

11 September 2001. Do you remember the firefighter covered in dust? The towers collapsing into rubble? Terror. Fear.

And do you remember what you thought on the morning of 24 February 2022? War returns to Europe. Children saying goodbyes to their fathers. Overcrowded European train stations, as if it were the 1940s.

Days that changed the world.

Yet another landmark event has unfolded before our eyes.

6 January 2021. The storming of the Congress in the United States.

Elected American politicians who had to flee for their lives. Numerous people dead.

Suddenly, the certainty of the peaceful transfer of power between one president and the next disappeared.

It is poison for every democracy. And although the American democratic institutions held firm and prevailed, I will never forget those images. I never thought that it would happen in the US. Never.

So, therefore, dear Danes.

Dear listeners who represent Denmark’s democratic institutions. Dear journalists and photographers.

Dear government officials.

The Danish royal family and our wonderful Majesty. Dear colleagues here in the Danish Parliament.

We can all stand proud.

When war hit Europe, we in Denmark chose to take the lead in helping Ukraine. And we continue to do so.

Thank you for the broad support for donating the fighter jets that Ukraine has long requested.

And let it be said very clearly: If other countries begin to waver, we Danes will only stand even more firmly. Ukraine’s fight is our fight.

When polarisation and division are tearing nations apart from each other, we in Denmark choose cooperation and dialogue.

This is why Denmark has its first broad coalition Government in decades. This is why we were just named the world’s most democratic society.

When the war must be fought between evil and good. Between right and wrong. For a free Ukraine. We Danes stand united.

This is the pen with which you must write, if you want to write world history. Thank you!

* * *

We are following in the footsteps of the generations before us.

Since this podium was crafted by a young female cabinetmaker more than 100 years ago, many MPs, ministers and prime ministers have stood right here.

Argued. Debated. Negotiated.

Common to them all is that they had dreams of the good society that Denmark could become.

If the politicians of the past could experience the Denmark that is right outside these windows, on this first Tuesday in October 2023, they would probably pinch themselves to see if it was a dream when they saw the wonderful welfare society that they helped to create.

One of the world’s richest societies in terms of money, as well as quality of life and happiness. A society that gives people the opportunity to realise their dreams.

To lift themselves up through life. And which catches us if we lose our footing. Have we reached the finish line?


We still have much that we want to do. And, yet again, this will probably not be the parliamentary year in which we manage to reduce the pace of politics ...

We must move forward on health care. The problems in cancer treatment must be fixed. We have to create greater cohesion between general practitioners, municipalities and hospitals. Not least, for the sake of our elderly.

Patients must be at the centre of our efforts.

Therefore, far more of the employees in the health service must have contact with patients. We could call it “from desk to patient”. A ten-year plan for psychiatry and mental health. More prevention. And we must be willing to spend more money on the health of Danes. And we are.

We must move forward on climate. The 2025 goal must be reached. Agriculture must contribute. Thus, the carbon tax. And an aviation tax so that we can fly green in Denmark.

We must move forward on welfare. Setting free the public sector. We begin with the primary and lower secondary schools. Then, a comprehensive proposal for the elderly services.

We must move forward on tax cuts for all of you who are employed. Increase the “elderly check” for those of you pensioners who have the least. Implement the targeted pay raise in the public sector.

We must move forward on strengthening Danish defence. Continue support for Ukraine. Negotiate a new European policy agreement.

We must implement a new work duty for citizens with a need for integration. Especially women with non-Western backgrounds have to leave home in the morning just like the rest of us. So that you contribute to society for the benefits you receive – until you get a real job.

We must move forward on increasing security in all parts of Denmark. Thus, a new package of laws on gangs. Enabling the police to establish heightened penalty zones in Christiania and other areas.

The most important fight for freedom in Denmark is the fight to ensure that girls with minority backgrounds decide for themselves about their sexuality and future. And that the rest of us must not be afraid of crime due to gangs and misfit boys assaulting fellow youth.

We must move forward on creating a new dignity in social policy. Lift the most vulnerable out of the unemployment system.

A new 2030 plan.

And we must move forward on some of the difficult discussions. The abortion limit. Organ donation. Euthanasia.

We must do all of these things.

It is almost a more daunting task than dealing with messages on Aula.

There will be no time to hibernate.

On the other hand, there will be a need for a lot of cooperation.

A lot of compromises.

And a lot of discussions.

Including in this parliament.

* * *

I mentioned earlier that the Speaker’s seat was made starting with an oak log.

According to legend, either cabinetmaker Anny Berntsen or Liberal politician Frede Bojsen put a note in the podium.

“Here is a kævle [log] from which you can kævle [argue].”

Today I have made an effort.

And now I look forward to us arguing further during the opening debate on Thursday.

And in the parliamentary year ahead of us. LONG LIVE DENMARK!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!