HomeDanish PoliticsDebate over Danish government's financial support for Randers municipality

Debate over Danish government’s financial support for Randers municipality

In January, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stood in front of rolling cameras in Randers and assured that the bill for cleanup work after a landslide should not fall on the municipality’s children and elderly. This statement is now the subject of a major debate, as Minister of Environment Magnus Heunicke declared on Wednesday evening that no further state funds will be sent to the financially strained municipality, which is facing a budget shortfall of 370 million Danish kroner. Steen Bundgaard, the Social Democratic (Socialdemokratiet) group chairman in Randers City Council, is sticking to the Prime Minister’s original promise. “It is true that Heunicke says there is no more money for us from his area, but he doesn’t hold the entire purse. I hear it from Mette Frederiksen as the purse is definitely not closed,” Bundgaard explains.

Tensions are escalating as the Chamber Attorney investigates who can legally be held responsible for the damages and potentially cover the costs. “Of course, that track should be explored as much as possible. Unfortunately, we just can’t wait because we are facing the economic problems right now,” says Bundgaard, adding, “Honestly, we are totally screwed if we don’t get help, and the buck stops when it’s been said that we shouldn’t stand alone with it.” Lars-Christian Brask from the Liberal Alliance points out that it is a complicating circumstance for Mette Frederiksen, as she has given the impression that the government would intervene if Randers Municipality faced serious economic problems. “She has been caught in her own spin because she is out there telling citizens directly that this is a national issue, and that neither children nor the elderly should pay,” he says.

The situation in Randers is still unresolved, and it is unclear how the municipality will handle the economic pressure if no further state support materializes. The Prime Minister’s office has not commented further on the matter since the Wednesday announcement by the Minister of Environment.

Read the danish version here

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