Danish government to curb immigration and freeze spending

Rasmussen’s Venstre party secures enough support from conservative-liberal block

Denmark’s new government, a one-party, centre-right, minority administration, has announced plans to tighten up asylum laws and freeze spending to balance the budget.

The centre-right Venstre party came third in the recent general election with 19.5 per cent, but leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen secured enough support from Denmark’s conservative-liberal block in parliament to oust the centre-left coalition government.

Mr Rasmussen, who served as Danish leader for two years until 2011, said: "We have the ambition of working broadly with parliament."

With just 34 of 179 seats in the Folketing chamber, Mr Rasmussen has little choice.



The new administration, Denmark’s smallest in four decades – only one government, in 1973, had fewer members in parliament, with 22 seats, and it lasted 14 months – will be heavily dependent on support of opposition centre-right parties on a vote-by-vote basis – in particular from the populist Danish People’s Party (DF).

The Eurosceptic, socially conservative party refused to join the government after Venstre refused to back its social spending promises.

The DF also demanded a referendum on whether Denmark should remain in the EU and clear support for Britain's EU reform demands.


In a nod to the DF, Mr Rasmussen said his new government would present a draft immigration Bill next week with tougher asylum rules, after saying in the recent election campaign that migration had got “out of control”.

But he has refused to follow DF demands in relation to the EUand refuses to back British EU reform demands requiring treaty change.

On the contrary, he announced that Denmark would hold a referendum by year-end on its opt-outs on EU judicial policy.

Mr Rasmussen named Venstre veteran Claus Frederiksen as finance minister, a position he held in the last Rasmussen administration from 2009 to 2011.

Senior party official Kristian Jensen has been named foreign minister.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin