Politics and Analysis

Danes Feel Secure During the Coronavirus crisis


Denmark scores top marks in a new EU report that measures the quality of life, economy and optimism for the future among the populations of the EU during the coronavirus crisis. The report was initiated on 9 April and will run until September.

By Christiane Miβlbeck-Winberg and Christina Sode Haslund, Director of European and International Affairs and Director of Occupational Health and Safety Policy respectively at the Confederation of Danish Employers

From one day to the next, the coronavirus crisis turned everyday life on its head. The closure of Denmark – and the whole world, for that matter – ushered in great economic uncertainty. However, it turns out that we are far more optimistic in Denmark than the populations in most other EU countries, and there are several reasons for this.

Among other things, this is due to the fact that, here in Denmark, we have an outstanding labour market and society that acts as a safety net in times of crisis. We can be proud of that.

In the report from Eurofound, only 12 percent of Danes state that their financial situation has worsened during the coronavirus crisis. This is the lowest proportion of all member countries. The labour market partners were quick to respond to the crisis and set an aid package for employees in motion in the early days of the crisis. This has had a particularly positive effect. Up until now, we have managed to retain a large proportion of employees in the labour market so that they are still getting paid wages. This makes for a sense of economic calm, and it is gratifying to be able to read this in the report

We should remember to give ourselves a pat on the back for Denmark’s impressive ranking. This is underpinned by an efficient and secure labour market.

Another reason for Danish scoring highly in the report is the strong connection to the labour market. We in Denmark have managed to maintain that connection to the labour market, despite the fact that we have not been able to be physically present.

The report shows that almost half of Danes are using online and telephone communication as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  Large numbers of us have now tried working from home for an extended period. We have held online meetings rather than physical meetings. That way, despite quarantine and the close down, many Danes have maintained their connection to the labour market. Perhaps that is why, according to the report, we are one of the countries that has seen the smallest decrease in working hours. Only our Nordic neighbours, Sweden and Finland, have seen smaller changes in working hours than we have in Denmark. Things look very different in countries like Greece, Cyprus and France, where the change in working hours has been double what it has been in Denmark.

Our work situation – and our working environment – may well be the reason that we Danes, according to the report, are most happy with our life situation as it is now. At the opposite end of the scale, we find countries like Greece, Bulgaria and Croatia. Furthermore, our work situation may also have helped us feel much more optimistic about the future. Here, we take an impressive second place in the survey. Only the Finns are more optimistic than us.

In Denmark, we have a long-standing tradition of cooperation between the players in the labour market and the government. Even in times of crisis. It has been crucial to the economy and the labour market – not to mention the Danes’ sense of security. We should remember to give ourselves a pat on the back for Denmark’s impressive ranking. This is underpinned by an efficient and secure labour market.

This input was submitted on an A4 sheet on 23 May 2020.

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