The new coalition government in Denmark intends to scrap a bank holiday in order to raise defense spending. One of the initial efforts toward the first such cooperation of center-left and center-right parties since the 1970s has already been authorized. The center-left Social Democratic Party, the center-right Liberal Party, and the moderate party make up the new government. Reaching NATO’s aim of 2% of GDP for defense spending three years early is one of the coalition’s top priorities. Mette Frederiksen, the incumbent Social Democratic prime minister, will remain in office. In an effort to increase productivity and economic activity, Ms. Frederiksen has declared that one of Denmark’s 11 official holidays will be eliminated. It is likely that the “Great Prayer Day,” or Store Bededag, will be abolished. This holiday, which was made a public holiday in 1686 and always falls on the Friday before the fourth Sunday after Easter, is known as the “Great Prayer Day.”

The measure has already received criticism from Denmark’s religious sector. The president of the clergy organization, Pernille Vigso Bagge, was “saddened” by the prospect of losing the day, according to a Danish newspaper. Business owners are also concerned. Iver Hansen, a baker, told a news network that the holiday was an important revenue source for his business and that its abolition would cost him between 20,000 and 30,000 Danish kroner (£2,300 and £3,460) in lost sales. When questioned about why the holiday was eliminated, Ms. Frederiksen responded, “There is war in Europe, and we need to strengthen our defenses… And that will require everyone to contribute a little more.”