Denmark near top of EU inequality list

Denmark has been ranked in the top five EU nations where economic inequality has widened the most from 2008 to 2012.

Research from think-tank Cevea revealed that those at the bottom end of the wage scale suffered a wage decline of around 1,000 kroner during that period while people at the other end enjoyed a wage increase of almost 14,000 kroner. The organisation’s Kristian Weise said it is apparent the economic crisis has hit the poorest Danes hardest.

Think-tank Cepos economist Mads Lundby Hansen described the results as “unfair”, saying that it was a “skewed comparison”. She acknowledged that there was a growth in economic inequality but said among OECD countries Denmark has an extremely low level of inequality.

Although the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest widened during the economic crisis, the research revealed that this has been happening since 2003.

Ever since the current government came into power income inequality has grown, something Hansen described as a “necessary evil” that was down to reforms put in place. She explained that reforms to boost employment and growth can ultimately increase inequality, but insisted this must be accepted as Denmark needs growth and employment.

However, Weise does not agree, saying that politicians don’t seem to realise that Denmark has been suffering from “lopsided development” for this past decade. He added that this may not be the kind of development the country needs.

The four countries ranked above Denmark in the economic inequality list were Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.