The Course of a Year in the Parliament

A parliamentary year always begins on the first Tuesday in October at 12.00 o’clock noon and ends on the same date at the same time the following year. However, parliamentary work at Christiansborg is organised in such a way that it primarily takes place from October to June.

Større

 

The course of the year is planned in accordance with a number of working processes and recurring events.

The year is planned well in advance

Sittings for the coming parliamentary year are planned in advance, and the plan specifies the days on which there will be sittings and the weeks during which there will be no sittings in the Chamber. Parliamentary committees usually have one or two regular weekly meetings, but not all of them hold meetings every week, especially not during the summer. During a parliamentary year, there are about 100 sitting days.

The opening of Parliament

When a new parliamentary year begins on the first Tuesday in October – also referred to as the opening of Parliament – the Queen and the Royal Family traditionally witness the first sitting from the Royal Gallery in the Chamber. The sitting begins with the Parliament electing the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers. The Prime Minister then takes the floor and gives the opening speech, addressing the Government's plans for the coming year, including the Bills the Government will be introducing. Two days later, Members of Parliament (MPs) have the opportunity to debate the Prime Minister's opening speech and all the current political issues. The opening debate begins in the morning and usually continues until late evening.

Picture: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

The Finance Act

The Government presents its proposal for the coming year's Finance Act as early as the end of August. The Parliament subsequently convenes for a special sitting in September with the Finance Bill as the sole item on the agenda. The Minister for Finance negotiates the proposal with the political parties during the autumn and, as a rule, the Finance Act is passed before MPs start their Christmas holidays.

Concluding debate

Just before the Parliament concludes its ordinary legislative work for each parliamentary year, which is normally on Constitution Day (5 June), another traditional marathon debate takes place. This is known as the concluding debate and can easily go on until the early hours of the morning. The debate takes in a wide range of the subjects that have been debated during the past year and is formally based on an interpellation by the parties' political spokespersons addressed to the Prime Minister. The interpellation has almost the same wording each year, namely: "What can the Prime Minister tell us about the domestic and international political situation?" The Prime Minister and the political spokespersons play the leading roles during the debate.

Visits and travelling

During a parliamentary year, the parliamentary committees visit a range of different places in Denmark and abroad. MPs also take part in international cooperation.