December 19, 2017 / 5:22 PM / a month ago

Danish government wins backing for 2018 budget, defusing crisis

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s right-wing government secured backing from a junior partner for the 2018 budget on Tuesday, defusing a crisis that had threatened to bring down the minority coalition.

The Liberal Alliance (LA), part of the three-way coalition led by Prime Minister Lokke Rasmussen’s Liberals, said it would support the budget in parliament and agreed to postpone the negotiations on tax and immigration reforms it wants until January.

The anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (DF), whose support the government needs to pass laws, gave its backing on Dec. 8 for the 2018 budget, but the LA had said it still wanted an agreement on tax cuts.

“I am willing to make another attempt to secure an ambitious tax reform and a new modern immigration policy,” foreign minister and Liberal Alliance leader Anders Samuelsen said at a press conference.

The budget will be passed at a parliament vote on Friday, he said.

Failure to secure backing from LA could have forced Rasmussen either to hand power to the Social Democrat-led opposition or call a snap election.

Tax cuts have been on the right-leaning government’s wish list for a long time, but pro-welfare DF has been less eager to back that part of the government’s policies.

The 2018 budget deal includes among other things increased spending on health and elderly care and on infrastructure.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Heavens

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