Denmark is the oldest kingdom in Europe and Gorm the Old became its first king in the year 936. Geographically, Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsular and 406 islands and has an area of 43,092 sq. km. Most of the countryside is made up of rolling cultivated farmland, with low hills, lakes and woodlands. The weather is temperate, with an average annual temperature of about 7.7 C and the total population of Denmark is 5,368,354. .
The Kingdom of Denmark also includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland and Denmark's capital, Copenhagen is situated on Zealand, the largest island.
1.1 Political Background.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, ruled by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II since 1972. The first free and democratic constitution was adopted in 1849, and a two-chamber system parliament was formed a year later. The upper chamber was abolished in 1953, placing all political authority in the former lower chamber, the Folketing (parliament).
The Social Democratic Party was the dominant party for most of the post-war period in the 179-seat Folketing. Between March 1998 and November 2001 the SDP formed a minority coalition government with the Social Liberal Party. The Folketing is elected under a system of proportional representation based on 17 multimember constituencies. A total of eight parties are represented in the Folketing. It serves for a maximum of four years.
The present government, formed after a general election in November 2001, is a minority coalition of the Liberals and the Conservatives. Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen is Prime Minister of Denmark and the new government pursues a liberalistic policy, but needs support for its policies from either the Social Democrats or from a right wing party. The current minority government policies are inevitably moderated by the need to ensure support from either left or right-winged parties.
There is a long tradition of negotiation in the Danish labour market where conditions are established through tripartite co-operation between labour unions, employers' federations and the government.