Denmark scraps public holiday to boost defence budget


Denmark’s parliament has voted to abolish a springtime public holiday to boost spending on the military. Lawmakers voted 95-68 to scrap Great Prayer Day, a religious holiday observed since the 17th century. The cancellation will provide an additional three billion kroner (£355m; $427m) to be used on the defence budget, the government says. But there has been opposition from opposition politicians, trade unions and religious figures. At the start of the month, some 50,000 protesters gathered outside parliament in Copenhagen to protest the plan. “Stop the thief,” Karsten Honge, a member of the Socialist People’s Party, said during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “The government is ordering people to work one day more.” However, there was not enough opposition in parliament to call a referendum. Despite the opposition, Denmark’s government coalition said the extra money was needed to raise the defence budget to Nato’s target of 2% of GDP by 2030, instead of 2033 as previously planned.(BBC)…[+]