Denmark set for ‘fragile and moderate’ growth

Denmark’s GDP is expected to increase by 1.7 percent in 2015, leading to “continued, albeit fragile and moderate” economy growth according to a new European Commission report.

Denmark set for 'fragile and moderate' growth
Economy Minister Morten Østergaard and Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon should be set slow but steady growth. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix
The European Economic Forecast report for autumn 2014 predicts that an economic recovery will finally take hold in Denmark. 
Pointing to the steady decline in the unemployment rate and a housing market that has seen rising prices since late 2011, the European Commission (EC) expects Denmark’s GDP to grow by 0.8 percent in 2014, following a 0.1 percent decrease in 2013. 
The EC predicts 1.7 percent growth in 2015 followed by 2.0 percent in 2016 and doesn’t expect Denmark’s general deficit to exceed the three percent of GDP benchmark set by the Stability and Growth Pact. 
The economic forecast points to a decline in North Sea oil and gas production as being a significant factor in Denmark’s slow GDP growth but “when correcting for this downward pressure on GDP growth, a picture of a somewhat stronger recovery emerges”.
An increase in consumer spending is also predicted to help Denmark turn the corner on economic recovery. 
“The economic conditions are in place for a pick-up in domestic demand, as household disposable income is supported by low interest rates, wage growth and improved labour market conditions,” the EC report reads. 
Denmark has also seen improvements in the housing market but the Economic Forecast cautions that “the recovery still appears to be fragile, with large regional differences and a low level of sales”. 
On the jobs front, the forecast predicts that Denmark’s unemployment rate will fall to 6.4 percent in 2016, a significant drop from the 7.9 percent level in May 2012. 
The EC report comes just over a month after Denmark’s National Bank nearly halved its growth forecast for 2014, predicting that the Danish economy would only grow by 0.8 percent, down significantly from its 1.5 percent growth forecast in June. 

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.