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Good evening.

Today we embark on a new year.

May it be easier than the old. May it be bright and filled with optimism and action.

We have again experienced a Christmas and a New Year in the shadow of the corona. Rising infection. Many in isolation. It’s been a difficult time. And is it still.

But tonight I will not primarily talk about corona.

I want to talk about our common and wonderful Denmark. A country that in geography is so small. But in abilities, values ​​and opportunities so great.

There are old and new challenges we must solve. Our starting point is good.

We have the highest growth in 15 years. And the lowest unemployment rate in 12 years.

I myself am a child of the 80s. I remember family members and my father’s colleagues sitting in the kitchen with downcast eyes as mass unemployment hit the country.

Today it is the other way around. Never before have more people been at work. The Danish economy is booming. Now we need to extend the recovery.

And first of all. Should we solve the biggest and most important challenge of our time: the climate crisis.

Collectively, we must be as impatient as the planet needs us to be.

2021 was a year in which we – with broad agreements – took decisive steps on the road to a green future.

Denmark is again the green pioneer country we want to be. It should give us even more courage.

Rising temperatures are destroying our planet.

I know many are worried. What will our future be like? And the children’s? And the grandchildren’s?

I can promise you one thing. The political majority that is right now in Denmark. We do not fail. We do what needs to be done. That is our promise. That’s my promise.

This year we will decide on a new and ambitious tax on CO2. It must ensure that companies that pollute the climate pay for their emissions themselves.

Many are already in the process of adjusting. For others, it will take longer.

But the starting point is simple. The Danish principle that the widest shoulders should carry the most. This must also apply in the green transition: If you emit CO2 – then you have to pay.

That is the most reasonable thing.

When other countries in the world are too slow. Then Denmark must take the lead. And raise the bar even more.

This also applies to air traffic. To travel is to live, and that is why we fly. But at the same time it is harmful to our climate.

Imagine if Denmark could help solve that problem.

We need to make it green to fly.

Therefore, the government will set an ambitious goal:

By 2025 at the latest, Danes must have the opportunity to fly green on a domestic route.

And by 2030 at the latest, we must be able to fly completely green when we fly domestically in Denmark.

Will it be difficult? Yes. Is it possible? Yes I think so. We are already on our way. Skilled researchers and companies are working on the solutions.

If we succeed. Then it will be a green breakthrough. Not just for Denmark. But for the whole world.

If there is anything the past few years have taught us. In dealing with major crises. Then it is that we must never hesitate.

* * *

Should we reach our climate goals. At the same time, we must ensure that there are enough employees.

We lack manpower. And if we do nothing, then we risk both slowing down progress and straining legs for the green transition.

That is why we have proposed a number of initiatives to get more people into work.

Among other things, we will remove the set-off in the pension if your partner is employed.

We want to tighten the graduate rules. So that new graduates enter the labor market faster.

More at work. Faster. This is good for companies and the Danish economy. And at the same time allows us to invest a billion in making the education of young people better.

In the debate on the government’s reform proposal, the business community has wanted it to be easier to get labor from outside. We are willing to discuss that.

But we must do it wisely.

We decided many years ago that we should not have free immigration to Denmark. We want to stick to that decision.

Therefore, we only need to bring in labor that is in short supply. It must be for a limited period. And that, of course, has to happen in a proper way.

Where we also strengthen the conditions of Danish employees and make a joint effort to get those who are still outside the labor market into work.

That is the Danish social contract.

Denmark must build on right and duty.

Many of you who have come here from the outside over the years have taken those values ​​to you. You often have some of the hardest jobs. In bones.

Now we have to bring more.

Therefore, the government has proposed that we replace passive support with a unique working logic for citizens with an integration need.

The best thing is to get a job. If you can not do that, you must in future make use of your service.

And to you – especially women with non-Western backgrounds who do not have a job, even though you have been in Denmark for many years:

We need you.

We will target our proposal for a 37-hour work duty in places where there is a real shortage of staff. This is not least the case in elderly care.

I know very well that from one day to the next you cannot go in and work on an equal footing with colleagues who have education and experience.

But then you can do some other things. Grease foods. Washing clothes. Make extra clean.

You start by making use of the nursing home for your benefit. As soon as you are ready for education or job, then you need to earn your own money.

It is good for equality. For integration. And that mom and dad are at work is the best safeguard against child poverty.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (S) gives a New Year’s speech at Marienborg in Kongens Lyngby. Fold up

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Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen.

* * *

In elderly care, as in large parts of the rest of our welfare, there is a lack of time for what is most important.

I do not believe we can save ourselves for better welfare. When more children and the elderly come, the money must follow. And they do now. They are doing so under this government.

But I also do not believe that we solve all problems by adding more money.

It is thought-provoking that a midwife 20 years ago had almost twice as many births as she does today. But more tasks have been added. So many are experiencing that there is now less time for those giving birth.

As promised, funds have been set aside for 1,000 additional nurses. But in several places you do not notice it.

The picture is the same in large parts of the public sector.

Too much time goes by with process, bureaucracy, controls and schedules.

It erodes the joy of work. This makes it difficult to recruit. And it provides a welfare that does not always live up to expectations.

It’s time to get to the core. What is really the most important thing in our welfare?

Relationships, presence, care and professionalism.

A welfare society where there is more heart space than control. More common sense than regulation.

And yes, that would mean doing things differently.

It will require stronger leadership. Concrete problems must be solved locally. And not with even more legislation.

Of course, much is succeeding in the welfare state. Weekday.

But hand on heart, we do not yet have the elderly care in Denmark that our elderly have deserved.

I would therefore like to propose something far-reaching tonight.

That we abolish the extensive regulation and legislation in the area of ​​the elderly and start all over again.

A new short and precise seniority law. With clear values. Dignity. Freedom of choice. Self-determination. And get documentation requirements.

Let employees use their good heads and warm hearts. Let us relatives be more with our old ones. Let the elderly receive the love and care that the fall of life requires.

I know the proposal will meet with opposition. I just have to state that I am now the sixth prime minister to problematize the bureaucracy. Poul Schlüter was the first. The problems have only gotten bigger.

Therefore, we have given seven municipalities the opportunity to be free of almost all state rules in a number of welfare areas.

In the new year, we will offer all the country’s municipalities the same. So you can create that primary school locally. The elderly care. The kindergarten you want.

It is my hope that the newly elected mayors and city council will take up the challenge.

And that the parliamentary parties will be involved.

I have no doubt that the result will be best when we work together broadly on the solutions. As we have done since the parliamentary elections.

* * *

Here and now, we must first and foremost deal with the corona.

I know it’s a tough time.

There are restrictions again. Especially the places where many people meet. Unfortunately, it affects Danish art and culture. It is a great loss, because we need the care, the reflection, the insight and the vision. The experiences. Everything you create.

We’re going through the winter. And we’re coming. Not least thanks to the vaccines.

Thank you to all of you who have been vaccinated. And to you who got the third plug, which is so crucial.

And thank you to all of you who vaccinate, vaccinate, work in healthcare, take care of the vulnerable – thank you to all of you who make the wheels turn and everyday work. Again under difficult conditions.

It’s impressive what we manage. Despite doubts and great difficulty, as we sing it in Jens Rosendal’s fantastic song.

* * *

After almost two years of corona, our hospitals are under pressure. And many patients are waiting to receive treatment.

When we are in the middle of a severe pandemic, the time is not right to implement major changes in the health care system.

But as soon as it becomes possible, we will present a health proposal. It must ensure better coherence for the patient all the way through healthcare.

We also want to establish local hospitals closer to the citizens. And more need to have a regular doctor. No matter where in Denmark you live.

Patients should be at the center. Wait time down. And the employees, you must have time to carry out your work.

* * *

We live in a time when the world is once again more turbulent.

An aggressive Russia to the east. Afghanistan’s collapse. Migration pressure. Restrictions on women’s right to abortion. Terrorism. Our democratic values ​​are being trampled on.

This year it is 50 years since Denmark decided to join the European Community.

The EU started as a coal and steel union. Now we are fighting for it to become a climate union.

Denmark must be in the heart of our own continent. For the option. It does not exist. A weak Europe gives a weak West. The world needs the opposite.

We must stand by our values. And we must strengthen our security. Together with our main partner the United States and our other allies in NATO.

* * *

This year it is also 50 years since our Majesty became Queen.

I personally welcome the Danes’ great support for the royal family.

We have a queen who – with her wit, her vision and her love for the entire kingdom community – gathers us across generations and geography. Reminds us of our history. Puts Denmark in perspective.

Congratulations to all of us Queen Margrethe.

* * *

Denmark is a unique country.

We trust each other. We would rather gather than be divided.

We have something special between us because inequality is less. The distances are short. Community stronger.

In the new year we will take hold. With optimism and drive.

Denmark can do more. Especially if we stand together.

Happy New Year.

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