Danish parties split over Donald Trump’s state visit

Next month's state visit to Denmark from US President Donald Trump has sharply divided public opinion, with business leaders and the major parties welcoming him and others pledging to protest.

Danish parties split over Donald Trump's state visit
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media in Washington onJuly 30. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Ritzau Scanpix
Brian Mikkelsen, chief executive of the Danish Chambers of Commerce, was perhaps the most eager to seize on the opportunities presented by the US President's visit, telling Danish state broadcaster DR that it was a “scoop” for Denmark.  
“It's fantastic news, that Donald Trump is visiting Denmark,” he tweeted on Thursday morning. “The USA is the world's biggest economy and our second biggest export market. A visit from the president is a golden opportunity for Danish business. And we shall seize it!” 
Politicians on Denmark's populist right and centre-right also greeted the news with enthusiasm. 

Michael Aastrup, foreign affairs spokesperson for the centre-right Liberal Party, said the visit was a “unique change to raise important issues with the world's greatest superpower, for example, the fight against climate change and Iran.”

“Fantastic that President Trump is following what we can now more or less call a tradition, that the sitting American president visits Denmark,” posted Nicolai Estrup, a politician for the Danish People's Party, on Twitter. 
The governing Social Democrats welcomed the US president, albeit with cautious language that stressed that he was being invited as the leader of one of Denmark's closest allies. 
But other parties on the left were more hostile. 

Karsten Hønge, chair of the Socialist Left Party, said that he planned to join protests against the US leader. 

“I will stand out on the streets and shout at him — that he is a woman-hater, a climate denier and a representative of the reactionaries in the world,” he said.

The party's youth wing will next week host a meeting on what sort of protest to mount against his visit. There are also proposals for a Dump Trump protest. 

The Red Green Alliance protested inviting a president who had decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Deal, with the party's energy chairman Søren Egge Rasmussen going on to Twitter to invite the popular Democrat senator Alexandria Ocasio Cortes to mount a rival visit to Denmark at the same time. 

The party's EU spokesman pointed out that the press release the government issued announcing the visit made no mention of climate change, putting a question over its commitment to run Denmark's greenest ever government. 

“It's strange that Mette Frederiksen puts forward security politics, Arctic issues and trade and investment as the subjects she wants to discuss with Trump when he visits Denmark. Wouldn't it make more sense to mention climate, climate and once again climate?”

In its leader, the Information newspaper, said that Donald Trump's visit represented a unique opportunity to seek to make him change his mind about the Paris Agreement.

“Donald Trump is known for changing his mind when he sees things right there in front of him,” the paper argued. “That's why we must get the president to change his attitudes to the green transformation when he visits Denmark.” 

Others ridiculed this hope, with the campaigner Allan Lindemark baiting Aastrup and others by imagining how a chastened Trump might announce his conversion after witnessing Denmark's example. 

“Now I have visited Denmark, I realise the sense in fighting climate change, and how wrong I was when I threatened to bomb Iran back to the stone age,” he tweeted.


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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Sunny weather is expected all week this week. Photo: Niclas Jessen/Visit Denmark

Denmark’s former PM names new party Moderaterne 

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark’s former prime minister, announced on Saturday that his new centre party would be called Moderaterne, the same name as the leading centre-right party in Sweden. 

In a speech held to mark Denmark’s Constitution Day on Saturday, Rasmussen said the new party would attempt to unite Danes with a variety of different backgrounds and political viewpoints. 

“Some prefer mackerel, and others prefer salmon. Some have long Danish pedigrees, others have only recently chosen to live in Denmark,” he said.

What they all have in common, he said, is their love for Denmark, which is “among the best countries in the world”. 

“How do we drive it forward? We are trying to find an answer to that. How do we pass it on to our children in better condition than we received it?” 

Rasmussen said the party would not launch fully until after November’s local elections, but was ready to contest a parliamentary election if the ruling Social Democrats decided to call an early vote, something he said he did not expect to happen. 

Sweden’s state epidemiologist warns Swedes to be careful in “high-infection” Denmark 

After the per capita number of new coronavirus infections in Denmark in recent days overtaking that of Sweden, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has advised Swedes visiting their Nordic neighbour to be careful to maintain social distancing. 

“You need to keep [the infection rate] in mind if you go there, so that you really take with you the advice you have in Sweden to keep your distance, not stay with lots of other people, and not have the close contact that involves a risk,” he told the Expressen newspaper. 

He said Denmark’s higher infection rate was an obvious consequence of the country’s more rapid lifting of restrictions. 

“They chose to open up society relatively quickly even though they knew that there was a certain risk that the spread of infection would increase,” he said. “Because they had vaccinated the elderly and did not see that it would be that dangerous with a certain increased spread of infection.” 

Nils Strandberg Pedersen, former director for Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency called Tegnell’s comments “comical”. 

“It’s comical. It’s Swedish spin,” he told the BT tabloid. “Denmark has registered more infections because we test so much more than the Swedes. It’s not the same as having more people infected in the population.” 

More immigrants to Denmark are getting an education 

The education gap between first and second-generation immigrants to Denmark and people of Danish origin has fallen over the last decade, according to a story published in Politiken based on new figures from Denmark’s immigration ministry. 

An impressive 72 percent of 20 to 24-year-old first and second-generation female immigrants now completing further education of university education, compared to 58 percent in 2010.

Denmark records further 853 cases of coronavirus 

A further 853 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the 24 hours running up to 2pm on Sunday, a rise on Saturday when 592 cases were detected, but still within the range of 600 to 1350 a day within which Denmark has been fluctuating since the start of May. 

Thorkild Sørensen, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen, told Ritzau that the sunny summer weather was allowing people to meet outside, and vaccinations were having an impact, allowing Denmark to open up without a surge in infections.

On Sunday morning, 138 people were being treated for coronavirus in Denmark’s hospitals, up four from Saturday, or whom 29 were in intensive care. 

Some 40.4 percent of the population has now received at least one dose of vaccine and 23.2 percent have received both doses. 

Sunny summer weather expected in Denmark this week 

Denmark is expected to have warm sunny weather with temperatures of 18C to 23C, with blue skies and little rain, Danish Meteorological Institute said on Monday. 

“This week looks really nice and summery, and it will be mostly dry weather most of the time,” Anja Bodholdt, a meteorologist at the institute told Ritzau on Monday.  “The only exception is Monday, when people in Jutland and Funen might wake up to scattered showers that move east during the day.” 

Danish property market show signs of cooling 

The number of houses being put on the market fell again in May, according to new figures released from Home, one of Denmark’s largest online estate agents. 

According to Bjørn Tangaa Sillemann, an analyst at Danske Bank, the figures suggest that momentum is seeping out of what has been a “scorching” market over the last year, although he said it was unlikely prices would actually fall. 
“Although demand seems to be declining, it is still high, and when interest declines, it can also make it less attractive to put your home up for sale than it has been recently,” he said.
At Home, 5.1 percent fewer houses were put on the market in May, while the number of apartments put on the market fell 9 percent, and the number of sales fell by 2.1 and 5.7 percent respectively.