Danish Liberal leader aims to ‘build confidence’ in latest talks with Frederiksen

Talks between Denmark’s two largest political parties over a potential new government agreement continued at Prime Minister’s residence Marienborg on Monday.

Danish Liberal leader aims to 'build confidence' in latest talks with Frederiksen
Danish Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on Monday as talks to form a new government progress. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The Liberal (Venstre) party was engaged in talks with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats on Monday afternoon, broadcaster DR reported.

Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said the latest round of talks would focus on the economy.

“We’ve spoken a lot about that so far. It’s a precondition for everything. And we will also talk about a ‘freedom reform’, meaning freeing citizens within our social welfare system. We will also speak about health reforms,” he said in comments reported by DR.

Ellemann-Jensen was also asked about his working relationship with Frederiksen, whom he said he “could not trust” before elections at the beginning of November.

“Confidence is something you must build. We are working on that, so now I will go in and build confidence and have a discussion about the economy,” he said.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

The Liberals, the largest party in the ‘blue bloc’ conservative group, ruled out governing with Frederiksen prior to the election, but has since moved to a more open stance.

Suggestions the Liberals may be prepared to enter government with the Social Democrats gained momentum following a Liberal party national conference earlier this month.

After the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedlisten), one of the parties that gave Frederiksen’s red bloc a slim parliamentary majority, was among parties to exit negotiations last week, pressure appears to be building on the Liberals on to find an agreement.

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Danish government split over repatriation of women and children from Syria

Only one of the three parties in Denmark’s coalition government has stated it wants to repatriate women with national connections to Denmark from Kurdish-run prison camps in Syria.

Danish government split over repatriation of women and children from Syria

The Moderate party, one of the junior parties in the coalition, wants Danish children to be repatriated from the al-Roj prison camp in northern Syria, even if it means their mothers are evacuated with them.

The other two parties, the Social Democrats and Liberals (Venstre), still oppose bringing the women back to Denmark.

The two latter parties have stated that they only want to evacuate the children and not the mothers, who are in the camps because they have been sympathisers of the Islamic State (Isis) terror group or spouses of Isis militants.

As such, the government is split over the question of whether to retrieve the five children and three mothers from the camp, where they have now been marooned for several years.

Human rights organisations have in the past expressed concerns over the conditions at the prison camps and Denmark has faced criticism for not evacuating children there who have connections to Denmark.


Current government policy does not evacuate children from the two camps without their mothers and will not evacuate mothers if their Danish citizenship has been revoked.

A recent headline case saw a mother from the camp win an appeal against a Danish immigration ministry decision to revoke her citizenship, meaning she now has the right to be evacuated. She was expected to be prosecuted by Denmark under terrorism laws on her return to the country.

Denmark’s Scandinavian neighbour Norway on Wednesday repatriated two sisters who went to Syria as teenagers as well as their three children, citing abysmal conditions in the camp where they were housed.

Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of the Moderate party, said at a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday that the government will state its agreed position on the issue “soon”, news wire Ritzau reports.

“The government will make a decision on the government’s position on the basis of the updated government policy position. And I expect we will do that soon,” he said.

Rasmussen said in January that the government had asked the relevant authorities to provide up-to-date information related to the Danish children who remain in the camps.

That information is expected to form the “policy position” (beslutningsgrundlag) referred to by Rasmussen in his committee comments.