Speech

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Opening Address at the Opening of the Folketing (the Danish Parliament) October 6, 2020

Check against delivery. 

 

It is said that a crisis shows what you are made of.

The spring of 2020 was a test of strength for Denmark. A common enemy. A global pandemic.

And what are we made of!

Community. Public spirit. The power to act.

Denmark showed all of us what we can do.

We were reminded of how fragile we are, when on our own. And we were reminded of how strong we are when acting together.

We could have just accepted that the illness would claim thousands of lives. But in Denmark, it is not up to a virus to decide if the healthcare system breaks down. Kills thousands of people.

We do not let a virus destroy the trust in our societal model. And thus, the foundation of our social economy. This applied in the spring – and it applies now.

After the slowdown during the summer, the corona virus has returned.

It was to be expected that the virus would gain momentum again, but it happened much faster than we were hoping.

Over the last three weeks, we have had 450 new cases a day on average. Yesterday, we had 120 persons hospitalised. The highest number since May.

So far, we have succeeded in slowing down the increase before it gained too much momentum. New restrictions have unfortunately turned out to be necessary.

It is like that in many other countries as well. All over Europe, we see that the virus spreads quickly.

There is a lot that indicates that in Denmark, as it is right now, we are in control of the epidemic. This is so, not least because we are one of the countries in the world that tests the most. But the assessment of the health authorities is still that the numbers are too high, now that winter is on its way.

Therefore, everyone´s effort is called for - once again.

Before long, the government will - as promised - present a warning system, which provides more predictability related to what to do if the infection numbers start to increase again.

The so-called dance with corona is and will be tough, as well as long and exhausting. Elderly citizens, who experience loneliness. Infected persons, who are scared. Employees, who fear for their job. Entrepreneurs, who fight for their dream. The realm of culture, thirsting after audiences. And most of us miss our life as it was - and shall be again. The spontaneity and the closeness. A hug. I know I do.

But the virus must not win this time around either. Because - what does it do to a society? A community? To people? If we just say: Damn the last, those who are weak, anyhow
We must never think like that. It cannot ever come to that.

We have proven that we can protect the individual human life - and at the same time be one of the countries in Europe whose economy appears to be coming out of the crisis in the best shape.

Because we closed down the spread of the virus, we were able to reopen society quite quickly. Health and economy need not be opposites.
On the contrary. Safety is the foundation of prosperity.

Everyone in Denmark has a part in our common results. And although it is difficult, although the spread of the virus threatens us once more, I have never been more optimistic on behalf of Denmark.

The Corona virus is a magnifying glass on our life, on our society.
We can see that politics make a difference.

Now we know how much we can achieve. If we are willing. When push comes to shove. If we join forces.


* * *


We need that, to get Denmark out of the crisis - and into the future.

In the spring, the gross domestic product dropped by almost 7 percent.
A much harder setback than during the financial crisis.

But the financial crisis grew out of fundamental imbalances in the economy.

Decades of deregulation. Over-consumption. A blind faith in the market forces.

This crisis is different and our resilience is greater.

Due diligence, a diligent population, and the reforms we have agreed upon here in the Folketing, have created a healthy, Danish economy. Low public debt. High creditworthiness. Competent employees. Strong businesses.

That is why we in the Folketing were able to adopt the largest financial aid packages in the history of Denmark.

Add the trilateral agreements with employees and employers.
Sectoral partnerships with the business world that were established, almost before we were ready to propose them.

In the future, when we look back at what we accomplished together, it will stand out as one of the finest hours for Danish cooperation and democracy.

We were hit hard. We responded quickly and we have gotten through it much better than we could have feared. Both in terms of health and in terms of economy.

Unions. Employer´s organizations. Businesses. Associations of volunteers. Cultural institutions. Public authorities - all of you who help and who are getting Denmark through: Thank you.

And not least: thank you to all of you, here in the Folketing.

I have the utmost respect for the fact that all parties were ready when Denmark "wobbled" for a moment. You were there. As leaders. As colleagues. As humans.

Tactics were put aside. Denmark was put first.

Thanks to our joint efforts - across interests - the Danish economy is doing better than that of many other countries.

But many have been hit hard - here as well.

We have expanded and prolonged the possibilities for unemployment benefits.

Strengthened the social security in difficult times. That is the Danish way - and a clear political choice. We show solidarity.

Since February, unemployment has risen by 34.000 persons.

Behind every dismissal notice, there is a person. And a family.
A couple in Tårnby - both were employed either in or around the airport. Both of them have lost their job. You cannot pay the rent based on healthy public finances.

We cannot eliminate the insecurities.

And they will continue. For workers as well as for businesses.

But for a Social Democrat government, obviously, it is a core task to fight unemployment. In order to do that, we need to get the businesses through.

Almost 800.000 jobs in Denmark depend on export, directly or indirectly. Denmark is a nation of trade.

Therefore, the government proposes - in addition to the comprehensive financial aid packages - to lead a very expansive fiscal policy in 2021 and in the years to come.

We can only bring Denmark into the future by making investments.

It need not be a law of nature that the crisis has to be financed by people whose association to the labour market is already insecure as it is.

It need not be a necessity that welfare must take all the cuts.
Leaving the bill in the dormitory is not the same as being visionary.

We have seen that type of unemployment before. Especially in the 1980´s. This crisis must be solved differently. We have to form, educate, and develop. So that young people as well as more experienced persons can thread new paths in life. Get a new job, if the old one disappears. Get educated for the future.

I am thankful that we have accomplished a trilateral agreement about apprentices that supports Danish apprenticeships and makes it possible, financially - even for businesses having a hard time - to employ more apprentices on practice learning contracts. And still keep around the trainees and apprentices they already have. Keep on doing that.
We need more skilled workers in the future.

I am proud of the resources we have set aside to create 5000 additional study places within higher education. This makes a little more room for the thousands of young people who have had to cancel their plans of travelling out into the wider world during their gap year. Instead, they can pack their school bag, and start studying.

And I am happy that a majority in the Folketing is backing the notion that people, who do not have a formal education, can now get to learn.
On improved funding, consisting of unemployment benefits. Become skilled workers. Perhaps get a degree or a certificate to attest the skills already acquired.

I would like to encourage that as many unemployed as possible to start an education. Even though I do know that, some of you may not have the best memories from your years in school. Keep going. Education is often a prerequisite, in order to be able to open new doors in life.

Different parts of the country and different business areas are not equally affected.

Some are back at the level of business they saw before the crisis.
Hairdressers and clothing stores.

For others, business has even increased. The builders merchants, supermarkets, and web shops.

But the entertainment business, travel agents and organizations, restaurants, bars hotels. The culture life, sports.

For you, times are tough.

Some of it is caused by restrictions. Other things are as they are because the entire world has been hit by the Corona virus.

Nobody can adapt at such a short notice. Therefore, we decided to act and provide acute financial aid. But in the long run, the Corona virus is going to change reality for many businesses.

On the government’s budget proposal we have set aside over nine billion kroner. For the purpose of restarting Denmark and for handling the effects of the virus.

We expect Denmark to be granted access to an amount of roughly the same size from the European Recovery Fund.

We will use it to boost the development of those areas, which are going to be vital for us in the future.

Last week, we agreed upon a Green Strategic Partnership with India.
Even though India is a large country, our export to India is relatively small.

On the other hand, the possibilities are enormous. If we get the same success with our export to India as we did in China, we can double the export of goods. That will equal around 4 billion kroner.

As the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Modi, says, India has the size, Denmark has the skills.

It is eye-opening that of all countries in the world, India, the world’s largest democracy - 1.3 billion people - a key player in the green transition- has chosen us, Denmark, as their first and so far only Green Strategic Partner country.

That shows what we are capable of.

The agreement is good for the climate, good for Danish jobs and good for Denmark’s place in the world.

We should not wait for the time after the pandemic. The necessary decisions must be made now. We must invest in technology.

A significant amount of Danish industrial businesses has experienced that the crisis has made them stronger.

One of the main reasons is that they have had a head start in terms of digitalisation, and thus can get to the world markets before their competitors.

To simplify a bit: the web shop works. Production continues. Jobs are being kept.

Digitalisation has evolved, from being one of many parameters in the competition, to being crucial for the survival of the business during these tough times.

As a society, too, we were quick to adapt and to make the most of Denmark’s strong position in terms of digitalisation. The doctor was able to see patients using video. Students were taught online.

We have to move on.

Therefore, Denmark needs a new strategy for digitalisation. We want to start with the ambition that Denmark shall remain a frontrunner in terms of digitalisation.

Rather than just rebuilding the past, we must empower the future.


* * *


Last month, I visited Motalavej with the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Housing.

A socially challenged area in Korsør that has been marred by unrest for far too long.

We met with several residents and the housing association.
A woman took the floor.

Unfortunately, I did not get her name. Her background was in some way related to a minority.

And she was seriously appalled.

Why?

Well, she thought that the rules are too soft. Why don´t you just take away the social security from the troublemakers? She asked.

I understand the frustration.

Insecurity has been allowed to grow in far too many places.

Are we to accept that there are places in Denmark, where ordinary people are afraid to be? Where the residents feel unsafe when returning home from work late at night? Or where they are worried when their children go outside to play?

Never ever. We can change this - we must change this.

But in order to do so, we must be able to say it as it is and to consider all nuances.

Many of you, whose roots lie outside of Denmark, take on a lot of responsibility. You make an effort.

Entrepreneurs, cleaners, designers, business leaders, sports stars, social and healthcare assistants, musicians, engineers, craftsmen, pedagogues, nurses, doctors, bus drivers.

It makes me so proud to see the young people - especially the many young girls - who are doing great in terms of their education. That is a strong thing to do. You are role models and forerunners for an entire generation.

Many of you are in a battle of values - a battle for freedom - a struggle to escape from the archaic and obdurate culture that, unfortunately, still controls some social circles.

Whereas the fight for women’s rights in Denmark in the 1970´s happened publicly, in broad daylight, with marches and television campaigns, your fight happens in places that are more hidden away.

This makes your fight more difficult than ours. Therefore, everyone´s effort is called for. This also applies to the imams who are residing in Denmark.

All of you who want to be a part of Denmark. Hold on to that.

And to all of you young men who, via social media, dissociate from the murder in Brønshøj last week: Keep on doing that. Dissociate from what is wrong - take on responsibility for doing what is right.

I am politically shaped by the fight for social justice. For a society with possibilities for everyone - not just a chance for the few. And we all know that there is a huge difference between growing up in Gellerup and growing up in Gentofte.

The conditions for growing up make for an uneven distribution of chances - unfortunately.

But I have no compassion, when that inequality causes people to revert to harassment, attacks, and brutal behaviour, do not come to me.

We have to maintain, that the individual is born with a free will. How we manage our life is, fundamentally, our own responsibility.

And without generalizing - without applying the same yardstick to everyone - we have to look at the facts. Look at the statistics.

One in five young men with a non-western background, born in 1997, had violated the Danish criminal code before his 21st birthday.

One in five.

That is not everyone - definitely not everyone. But, clearly, far too many.
Young men, who take away other people’s freedom, who steal the future from children, who cause prison wardens to break down - and who leave behind a long trail of insecurity.

It is nothing new, and that, actually, is the problem: it has been going on for too many years.

Girls, who are being labelled with derogatory expressions, because they are Danish. Or girls, who experience social controlling, because they have become too Danish. A sausage stand in Brønshøj, being attacked with firecrackers because they sell pork products.

Basically, we cannot accept that kind of conduct, that kind of behaviour, that mentality.

For not only does it affect the victims - it is also creating a negative image of a group out of the population or of a certain residential area. All of you who have to deal with the many prejudices every day, prejudices caused by the wrong behaviour shown by others.

The residential areas, which today are spoken of as socially deprived areas, were originally built in order to provide more freedom and an improved quality of life for ordinary people seeking to move out of the cities. To fresh air and safety.

For many years, that´s how it was. But now, in too many places, the opposite has happened.

In the socially deprived areas, one percent of the residents commit almost half the criminal offences, when you take the seriousness of the offences into consideration.

In that way, it actually is an "us" against "them".

Not white against brown, not young against older, not Copenhagen against provincial Denmark - or other false opposites.

But those of us who want security, decency, democracy, equality, freedom on one side - and those who want the direct opposite, on the other side.

Where criminality takes a hold on people, the police must act. Now, the government proposes that this happens with stricter consequences.

As it is today, the police can prohibit that individuals enter certain areas - a gang member, for instance.

That is all very well, but the rest of the group is still there.

In the future, therefore, the police must be allowed to issue a residence ban for all individuals in certain places for a limited period of time.

It could be in a parking lot in a residential area or at a train station, where these boys and young men gather and thus make the area feel unsafe for others.

Here we say: you cannot stand here. Nobody shall be afraid of walking in the street in Denmark - you shall not be allowed to take our freedom.

If the residence ban is not being adhered to, the punishment must be clear, consistent, and noticeable. First offence: a fine of 10000 kroner.

And if you have any unsettled debt owed to the public administration - such as unpaid fines for earlier criminal offences - payment will have to take place right away.

Then the police must be allowed to confiscate expensive jackets, watches, mobile phones right away.

Second offence: 30 days imprisonment.

We wish to give more muscle power to the police. At the same time, we send an unmistakeable message to the troublemakers and their parents.

The gang member shall find that his status symbols are confiscated - the reckless driver shall find that his car is confiscated.

The status symbols are used, today, to recruit the younger brothers. That food chain must be broken. We would rather give the younger brother a job in his spare time than a criminal older brother as a role model.

And we do not stop here.

As it is today, it takes far too long from the point in time when a criminal resident gets his sentence for a crime and to the point in time when he is evicted.

That is one of the problems at Motalavej. In some cases, several years have passed. Because the eviction case cannot be worked on until the criminal offence, itself has been dealt with in the criminal law system.

We want to change that.

In the future, it must be possible to evict criminal residents from their rented apartments in direct continuation of the court ruling in the criminal case.

And finally: the violence in our nightlife.

Here, we suggest, that persons who commit acts of violence and receive a sentence for it, shall also be banned from nightlife for a period of up to two years.

It is not fair, that the young man, who was knocked down in front of a bar one weekend, can meet the same violent man in the very same queue three weeks later.

In other words: Consequences - a short way from words to action. Because in Denmark you should be safe everywhere - at a disco, a residential area or a train station.

If we succeed in putting a stop to the crime and subversive behaviour, we see in far too many places, we will finally have time to focus on preventing crime and build upon the good things, because, thankfully, the good things are still what we have most of.


* * *


Many of the problems we are facing today, unfortunately go back quite some time.

Far too many people came - far too many were left behind - and it went on for far too long.

The immigration policy of the past was a mistake; it is as simple as that.

The government will be continuing the strict immigration policy, but we are going to have to do more than that.

We are left with a European asylum system, which, in reality, has collapsed.

Let´s be honest: Today, the possibilities for being granted asylum often depends on whether you are able to pay a human trafficker, and if you are willing to risk your life on an overcrowded dinghy.

The Mediterranean has been turned into a cemetery. Several coastlines in the south of Europe are in some sort of permanent state of emergency.

Nobody flees just for fun. But in the present situation, we are letting everyone down. Those fleeing whilst depending on human traffickers and those left behind - and who are the most in need of help.

Therefore, the government wants to help in the regions of origin.

We want to deal with asylum cases away from Denmark - in countries outside the EU, which can provide security for those in need of protection.

In my opinion, that is the only real, long-term solution.

Many have said that it is unrealistic - that it can´t be done.

But again, politics makes a difference.

We decide for ourselves. Do we just give up - or do we put actions behind our words?

In the upcoming parliamentary term, which we begin today, the government will be putting forward a proposal that will enable Denmark to transfer asylum seekers to countries outside of Europe - and thus make Denmark ready for a new asylum system.

It is a task that I hope we can all support.

* * *


Strong communities carry us far.

It applies in Europe - and it applies within the Kingdom.

Many people in the wider world admire our common construction: Three countries - one realm.

The global interest in the Arctic is on the rise.

We see an increasingly assertive Russian behaviour - that is problematic.

An increasing American interest in a closer cooperation in and around the Arctic.

That, of course, is positive.

The US is our most important ally, and the cooperation between the US and Europe should be strengthened, where possible. We are part of the global axis that fights for freedom, democracy, and peace in the Arctic and in the rest of the world.

The government will table legislation concerning investment screening and suppliers to our 5G-network. Technology and security policy are increasingly connected.

Therefore, we need an even closer cooperation within the realm when it comes to questions regarding foreign- and security policy, related to the new reality in the Arctic and in the North Atlantic area.

We must safeguard our common security.


* * *


We must also protect the welfare society we have built here, for generations. A safe community, where we take care of each other.

With the understanding paper, we have agreed upon that when the number of children and elderly increases, the amount of money must do so as well.

We now propose that the entire Folketing commits to adopting a welfare law, that provides nether limits for welfare.

The alternative would be yet another round of funding cuts - the welfare system would not survive that.

Over the last decades, all too often reforms meant cut-downs. The deterioration of early retirement pay is just one example.

The government wants to move in the opposite direction. A new right to early retirement for those who have spent many years on the labour market and who have often worked in physically tough jobs. Everybody deserves to retire with dignity.

We are now negotiating that with the parties in the Folketing. I am hoping for us to come to an agreement soon, so that more people can close the door to a long work-life with dignity as well as a body that still works.

The most vulnerable in our society deserve to be taken care of.

The majority of Danish children is doing fine, but we have to pay a lot more attention to those children who are not doing so great, because their parents are unable to take care of them properly.

We will ensure more rights to vulnerable children - fewer changes as well as earlier and more stable placements outside the home.

We must step up as a society.

At long last, we are now also doing that on another important area.

Legal security for rape victims.

We wrote it in the understanding paper - now it will turn into legislation. The government, Radikale Venstre (the Danish Social-Liberal Party), Enhedslisten - (the Red-Green Alliance) and SF - (the Socialist People's Party), all agree that sex must always be based upon consent.

I can´t believe that this has not been a matter of course before. We all have a responsibility.

This also applies to the debate about sexism that was raised by hundreds of strong and brave women.

As elected representatives - as party leaders and leaders of organizations we have a special obligation.

Also, an obligation to make sure that change happens not only close to us, but everywhere in Denmark. The porta cabin, the hospital, the staff room, all parts of the labour market.

The showdown must not end with just an update to the employee handbook.

This time around, we have to change the culture - we owe that to each other.


* * *


Denmark has one of the best welfare systems in the world. We have competent and engaged employees, and most of us can enjoy many great experiences in our everyday lives, when we need the welfare system. In day care or in the hospital.

That is the shiny front of the medal.

There is a not-so-shiny back to it as well.

The pictures of Else. Other secretly made recordings from nursing homes.

Degrading, inhumane, painful.

What is the root cause of the problems?

Some of it is about the lack of time and the lack of employees. We are in the process of prioritizing welfare again - it is necessary.

But money is not all the answer. We will never be able to solve the problems, if funding is always at the beginning and at the end of any discussion.

A lack of decency and respect is not just about money - but also very much about skills and management. Also, the ability to take action, when the few of us who definitely should not be working with people become transgressive. It is about decency - and about people failing to live up to their responsibilities.

At the official opening of the Folketing last year, my most important message was that we need a closeness reform of the public sector.

Because over the years it had become entangled in controlling, centralisation, minute schedules, documentation, and spreadsheets.

The Corona virus slowed down our work, but the need is still there. And the resolute decisions in the spring actually showed us how much we can accomplish if we just have faith in each other.

Social and health care-assistants have told that everything becoming a lot more simple, once the professionalism was set free.

Previously, a colleague calling in sick could make for a lot of time spent in long meetings, trying to distribute the tasks at hand. Now, it was just; "I´ll run with that one!" - next.

Nurses and doctors, who restructured half a hospital in next to no time. New beds, new equipment, new employees - retired colleagues making a comeback.

It worked - next.

In schools, the green areas were turned into open classrooms with fresh air and room for movement, an important principle in the latest reform of the public school system.

In many places, conflicts became less frequent; the problems were tackled - next.

Employees in the public sector all over the country were taking on and are still taking on a task on a scale we have never seen before.

I do not want to paint a picture of excessive beauty and harmony - many sacrifices were made and are still being made.

But when the social and health care worker, the nurse and the teacher say that all of a sudden, a lot became possible within a relatively limited time frame, we really need to listen up and pay attention.

The government has chosen to start with the police as the first step in the nearness reform.

The police has moved too far away from the everyday life of the ordinary Dane.

With the government’s proposal, we will cut the organization Danish National Police into half. Instead, we are going to establish 20 new, local police stations: 300 more police officers on duty close to the population in the country’s police districts.

With perhaps the greatest de-centralisation of Danish National Police in a generation, we are now strengthening the security close to us, a security that is of fundamental importance to all of us.

We are busy at work; this applies to taxes as well. We went into the election campaign on the idea of creating four new tax centres, evenly distributed across the country.

Actually, we are going to establish a total of eight centres instead.

The first two are going to be opening for business this week, in Frederikssund and in Fredericia. And next year, we will be opening two more, in Viborg and in Esbjerg.

Closeness is about geography, about doing away with years of centralization and about less of the management being controlled in a centralized administration. More time locally.

But I do understand you, you who are employees in the public sector, whose gaze goes slightly blank when we begin to speak of decentralization, us here at Christiansborg. And all of you out there who think that this is just the same song over and over again.

I do understand, if you cannot quite believe that this is actually, really going to happen.

Already back in the 1980´s, former Prime Minister Poul Schlüter spoke up against the ever-growing bureaucracy. Since then, things have only gone from bad to worse. Never before have we spent more money on welfare, but the results just don´t live up to the expectations.

That was the background for the free municipality - trials that were invented by the government a couple of years ago. A great idea. Bottom-up, a lot of great proposals were developed and written down.

When we were, a part of the government last time around, it was especially Radikale Venstre, who were very concerned with setting the municipalities free. That was the right thing to do.

Now, we propose something even more radical - something, we have never done before.

I do admit, it is a slightly wild idea.

The government wants to grant complete freedom to seven Danish municipalities within a selected area of the welfare system.

Helsingør, for example. During the next three years, they will be given complete freedom within the area of day care.

In cooperation with parents and the pedagogical staff, the municipality of Helsingør will be allowed to create the best day-care, nurseries and kindergartens in all of Denmark. We are going to take away as much regulation and state legislation as we possibly can.

Instead, we will let the staff take on responsibility. We live in the year 2020. We have one of the best educated populations in the world. We do not have to legislate about all and everything.

Besides Helsingør, the government has made similar agreements with mayors in Rebild, Viborg, Middelfart, Holbæk, Langeland and Esbjerg.

Each on one of the three areas: the public school system, day care and the care for the elderly.

The seven mayors are now going to ask their city councils and municipal councils for their support, in order to set free the respective day care facility, the respective kindergarten, school, nursing home unit or nursing home from municipal regulations and demands for documentation.

I would like to ask for the support of all of you present here today, in order to do the same. That we set free the seven municipalities, from the legislation and state regulation that they would ordinarily have to submit to.

Because if this is going to work, we must go all the way. We are also going to have to remove rules, which our parties used to fight for.

For instance, two of the municipalities, Esbjerg and Holbæk, will be setting the public school system free.

A completely basic framework must still apply: that the education is still free of charge, that the students sit the exams of the public schools in Denmark - that sort of thing.

But most of everything else? Here, the rules must be set aside. This applies to the minimum number of lessons, study plans for the individual student, nationwide testing - just to mention a few of the difficult ones.

Not because it is bad legislation - not because there are misguided considerations at play, but because we must have the courage to place the responsibility locally.

The individual institutions are granted freedom: Leaders, employees, citizens. They, on the other hand, will commit to delivering better results. Because - with freedom comes responsibility.


* * *

Politics is about making choices.

Children and young people made the election an election about climate politics.

The majority here at Christiansborg was given a clear, green mandate.

We feel heavily obligated by that mandate.
We must strive to be worthy of your trust.

A massive majority is behind the climate law - that is unique.

In ten years’ time, we have to deliver reduction of the emission of greenhouse gasses by 70 percent.

That equals having to lower the emissions as much as we have done over the last three decades, in just one.

Since the election, we have increased our speed.

In one year, we here in the Folketing have made decisions, together with, among others, the business community, which will reduce emissions by more than 5 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2030.

What does that entail?

That entails, that within just one year we have covered a fourth of the road ahead towards our goal of 70 percent reduction - and we have 10 years to reach that goal.

I´m just saying it, because it is a fact that tends to be forgotten, in the heat of the debate.

Equally, you many have the impression, that if you are in favour of technology, you must automatically be against an ambitious climate effort.

However. When we on a day like today are able to open the Folketing with green energy in the power outlets, it is because our predecessors invested heavily in the development of wind turbines.

Technology does not fall down from the sky. And it is not about "placing your bets" on new technology. Betting is something you do at the races.

It is about shaping the technology. By investing - ambitiously, wisely and focused.

Because, even though, in isolation, we are ahead of schedule right now, it will be difficult.

We are facing the most extensive reorganizations in our society and within our economy since we began the construction of the modern-day welfare society in the post-war era.

The way we organize transportation, the way heat our houses, the way in which we manufacture food - everything will need to change.

It is possible - like many other things. If we dare to make the right decisions.

All of the initiatives that we wisely can undertake here and now, and which contribute, to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - they need to be undertaken.

More energy efficiency in the industries, increased use of biogas, the phase out of oil and gas burners in individual heating. All that which we have agreed upon in the previous working year of the Folketing. We have to do more of that in the new working year.

At present we are working with transportation - next we will take on a green tax reform and the transition of the agricultural sector.

In the short term, it is about changing the feeding, so the farm animals emit less greenhouse gasses. But, it is also about more climate-friendly stables and more accurate climate accounts.

In the long term, we must look at the collective regulation of the agricultural industry. And how that may interact with the green tax reform.

We act now, because time is running.

But we cannot achieve our goals using only the solutions that we have today.

The debate about electric cars is a good example.

Should we have half a million or one million by 2030?

Actually, is that the right question to ask?

Should we not rather ask: How do we insure a green transition of our ways of transportation where we get the most CO2-reduction out of our money - for the society and for the citizens?

Among other things, the government proposes to change the taxation of cars, so electric cars will be more affordable and heavy traffic will be more expensive.

We also want to make fuel greener - mix more green fuel into the diesel used in our cars.

We must be ambitious.

Denmark should be a showcase model for the world.

However, nobody will want to follow our lead if our way is too expensive, unmanageable and socially unjust.

Along with the initiatives in the short term, we must therefore also take action on determined focused research and development.

We will be increasing the investments in green research. This year, from 1.2 billion kroner to 2.3 billion kroner - that is close to doubling the funding. And for next year’s Finance act we propose yet another increase.

We are going to bring privately funded research and public research closer together - with climate partnerships between the state, businesses, business organizations the agricultural industry and the trade unions.

And we make a choice, now. In the governments new, green research strategy we point out four areas with the potential to become Denmark’s "new great wind turbine adventure".

First of all, we must become good at catching CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it at ground level or convert it into green energy.

Secondly, we must become good at developing green fuel for transportation and industry. For example, convert energy from wind turbines to fuel in planes, ships, and cars - what the entire world refers to as "Power-to-X".

Third, we must become good at climate friendly agriculture. With solutions which make production more sustainable. And knowledge that makes a greener regulation more realistic.

Fourth, we must become good at reusing and cut down on plastic waste, which today costs a lot of oil in terms of production, and far too often ends up in the bellies of animals.

We have chosen four areas, where we are standing strong as a country and where, thus, the possibilities are greatest. Both in order to create more green jobs and in order to make a difference for the green transition.

We must make investments where the climate and where Denmark will experience the most benefits.

Let me finish by saying it so that it cannot be misunderstood: the 70 percent target has been legislated upon, agreed upon and decided upon.

And to our cooperating partners of SF, Det Radikale Venstre and Enhedslisten We understand your impatience - because we are running out of time in terms of decisions, if we are to reach our common goal.

Therefore, a clear statement today:
We are going to use the economic rebuilding to live up to our promises in terms of an ambitious, green transition.

Therefore, we propose a new, green economic room for manoeuvre of 2 billion kroner yearly, each year until 2025, so that, together, we can create certainty regarding the green investments in the years to come.

10 billion kroner. We can do that, if we use the money the European reconstruction fund and from the Finance Act for green purposes.

In the coming negotiations regarding climate and in the Finance Act - for which the minister of finance will soon send out an invitation - we will make the transformation from impatience to action, together.
The government has three important things to consider:

We must continue to make climate decisions in a way that creates jobs instead of closing them down.

We must not allow inequality to increase.

And we must continue to be able to pay for welfare.

I think we can actually reach an agreement, make a contract: Green ambitions, social justice, a healthy business policy and money for welfare.

Therefore, I also believe that over the coming months we can make the next big, green, and progressive decisions, so that we may show the young people that we are worthy of their trust.

* * *
In three months’ time, we can write the story of 2020.
A tough year for Denmark and for the rest of the world.

But also, a year that has given us food for thought.

No person alone invents the values of a life that was lived. The values of its foundations. The values that the relationships are made of.

The corona virus pandemic is harder than anything we have been through in modern times.

But together, we have decided that we will also get through that challenge. And with that, we are going to pass on some incredibly strong values to posterity. The power to act is intact, the spirit of community is strong, and the sense of community will get us through.

I have never been more optimistic on behalf of Denmark.

Together, we can create the future we wish for.

For each other, for progress, for the community.

Only seldom has it been more appropriate to shout out a threefold hooray for Denmark, as is the tradition at the official opening of the Folketing.

But we have to take care of each other, here in the hall as well. Therefore, we must do it differently.

Instead of shouting out our hoorays together, here in the hall, today we are going to shout in our hearts.


And I am going to finish my speech with the most important words in these historic times:

Long live Denmark!