Pressure on the Social Liberal leader Margrethe Vestager is increasing as
senior Social Liberals reacting against the government line on unemployment
Under the current plan, passed by the previous Liberal-led government and
supported by the Social Liberals, eligibility for the long-term unemployed
to again receive full unemployment benefits comes into effect after 52 weeks
Rank and file Social Liberals, however, are calling for that period to be
reduced to 26 weeks as called for by the unions, unemployment funds, the Red
Green Party and increasingly also Social Democratic rank and file.
The party political leadership has consistently refused to countenance changes
in the regime, which it agreed with the previous centre-right government in
2010. Neither the Social Democrats nor the Socialist People’s Party voted
for the move. The Social Liberals, however, made their participation in the
current centre-left coalition contingent on adherence to the new rules.
“You can make mistakes, but then you also have to take the consequences. It is
obvious to everyone that up to now the incentives have not been sufficient.
Obviously something has to be done. The eligibility period should be
reduced,” says Jeppe Trolle, a member of the Social Liberal National Board.
“The solution that has been found is a bad one. It makes it highly
unattractive to take a short job as it is difficult to see how to achieve
unemployment benefit again. The eligibility period needs to be reduced
considerably,” says Aalborg local Social Liberal Chairman Keld Kollerup
Trolle’s and Kvist’s views are widespread among National Board members that
Politiken has spoken with.
The Social Liberal grounds for supporting the reform in 2010, which halved the
unemployment benefit period from four to two years and doubled eligibility
to 52 weeks, was based on expectations that 3,000 people would lose the
right to unemployment benefit and would be put on social security, reducing
Unemployment funds now say that the figure is 30,000 for 2013.
“The prerequisite for the reform was that people got jobs, but that has not
happened. Honestly – you can’t let thousands of people drop out of the
system and have to manage without help,” says Social Liberal Bornholm
Constituency Chairman Peter Lissau-Jensen.
The Social Liberal Leader Margrethe Vestager has not been willing to comment
on the issue, but her Political Spokeswoman Sofie Carsten Nielsen says the
National Board has determined that the reform cannot be changed. “We are
focusing on initiatives that help the unemployed back into the labour
market. Eligibility will primarily benefit those who already have a job,”
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