Denmark’s government has finalized a widely disliked law that will abolish a public holiday to finance higher military spending.
The parliament voted Tuesday to drop Store bededag (the Great Prayer Day) from 2024. The government expects the decision to boost the public budget by roughly $470 million per year.
The government of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wants to increase defense spending to reach 2% of GDP in 2030. This is three years earlier than previously planned in effort to meet the demands by NATO.
While Danes are in favor of boosting the military, they still opposed the plans to eliminate the day off.
Opposition parties, bishops at Denmark’s state church as well as labor union leaders have protested, while almost 500,000 Danes have signed an online petition to keep the holiday.
Great Prayer Day, which falls on the fourth Friday after Easter, was introduced in 1686 as King Christian V merged a number of smaller religious holidays into one.
The last Great Prayer Day is to be held this year at May 5.