Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen laid out a high-profile agenda in her New Year’s address: fossil-free flying from 2030, “liberating” municipalities from the state bureaucracy and bringing more migrant workers to Denmark.
Frederiksen, 44, who took office two years ago, wants domestic flights to stop using fossil fuels from 2030, but only use green fuels. In the same year, Denmark should also emit 70 percent less greenhouse gases than it did in 1990. “Travel is life and that’s why we fly,” the prime minister said. “When other countries in the world are too slow. Then Denmark must take the lead and raise the bar.” It’s an ambitious plan, because “green flight” technology is still in its infancy. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has indicated that it is working on hydrogen-powered planes, but says it will be able to deliver those planes from 2035 at the earliest.
Frederiksen agreed that it would be difficult to achieve green domestic flights, but said researchers and companies are working on solutions. “This is a very important announcement. Action must be taken now, so it is great that politicians are taking a step towards this, even if it is probably a very ambitious plan,” said Lasse Rosendal, a professor at Aalborg University’s School of Energy Technology. Sweden previously set the goal of making domestic flights Fossil-free by 2030 and international flights by 2045. France decided in 2021 to ban domestic flights if the destination could be reached within 2.5 hours by train.
Aside from Flying Green, Frederiksen has surprised her fellow citizens with more big plans. Among other things, that all Danish municipalities “should be freed from the rules and bureaucracy of the state”. The prime minister wants municipalities to be able to decide for themselves how they want to run their primary schools, kindergartens and elderly care. The proposal is an extension of a pilot model, in which seven municipalities will be exempt from normal government rules on documentation, for example, from the beginning of 2021.
She also announced that her social democratic government would open its doors to foreign workers. This is to make up for the appalling shortage of domestic workers. Plans for this will be presented later this month. Finance Minister Nikolai Wamen later described – in an interview with the Berlingsky newspaper – finding the workers as an “absolute top priority” for the government.
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