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

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

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after meeting to discuss the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Thursday. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

New easing of Covid-19 restrictions from Monday 

The government last night announced that it will introduce a new slight easing of coronavirus restrictions, effective Monday.

The limit on public assembly will be increased from 5 to 10 people nationally, and to 50 for organised outdoor sports and leisure activities, as well as for outdoor religious services.

Final year students at youth and adult education institutions in Greater Copenhagen will be allowed to attend classes in person on the same model as the rest of the country. The capital region had previously been under tighter rules. Municipalities with higher infection rates will be excluded from this, however.

We’ll have full details of the announcement and the changes to the restrictions in an article on our homepage later this morning.

Opposition criticises easing of restrictions

The decision to ease coronavirus restrictions does not go far enough, according to Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, leader of the opposition Liberal party.

“I had hoped that more (pupils) would be able to go back to school. I’d hoped for more businesses to be able to open and I hoped that shopping malls would be able to open,” Ellemann-Jensen told broadcaster DR.

Kristian Thulesen Dahl of the Danish People’s Party called the concessions agreed on Thursday “sprinkles”.

“We are fighting for it to be possible to offer outdoors serving (at restaurants and bars) as a minimum,” Dahl said.

Health authorities to brief on AstraZeneca vaccine 

The Danish Health Authority and Danish Medicines Agency are scheduled this afternoon to answer press questions related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the use of which is currently suspended by Denmark due to concerns about possible serious side effects.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded on Thursday that the AstraZeneca vaccine was a “safe and effective” tool in the battle against Covid-19 but its investigation could not rule out whether the jab had caused rare cases of blood clotting.

Emergency parliamentary committee meeting about Danish children in Syrian camps

Parliament’s foreign policy committee is to meet today to discuss a matter which – if you’ll forgive me for slipping into opinion mode – I feel heaps shame on the government.

Mette Frederiksen’s government has steadfastly refused to repatriate children held at prison camps for former Isis fighters and supporters in Syria. A total of 19 children, who are either children of or “connected to” Danish citizens or former Danish citizens are known to be accommodated at the camps, the foreign ministry has stated.

Denmark has been strongly criticised by the UN for failing to protect the children, a position taken by the government apparently against the advice of its own security services. A panel of experts have previously recommended a four-year-old girl be removed from one of the camps in order to receive treatment for PTSD. 

A number of parties have asked to be given access to reports provided to the government by the intelligence service, FE, last year, and want to know why the government kept its details under wraps, according to DR. The justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, and foreign minister Jeppe Kofod will be among those facing questions.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Why the US climate deal is a boon for Denmark, a plan to help first-time home buyers, and a prince and princess at your child's high school are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Liberal party to propose tax deductions for first-time home buyers 

While the government remains skeptical, the Liberal Party (Venstre) will Monday present its plan to make home ownership more accessible in Denmark. 

Under the proposal, first-time home buyers could receive a 20 percent tax reduction on up to 50,000 kroner per year for five years, according to newspaper Berlingske. In five years, a couple could together save 500,000 kroner and get a tax benefit of 100,000 kroner. 

How the Liberal Party would fund the tax benefit, which is estimated to cost 1 billion kroner a year, remains unclear. While they count with the support of the Conservatives and the Danish People’s Party, the government opposes the plan.

READ MORE: Danish apartment sales cool to eight-year low  

Green energy sector in Denmark to see boost from US climate plan 

The United States Senate passed a $370 billion package — that’s 2.7 trillion kroner — earmarked for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by 2030. A considerable chunk of that money could end up in Denmark, according to green energy experts, and particularly in the pockets of Danish wind energy companies. 

The USA also has its own companies that will bid,” says Kristian Jensen of business organisation Green Power Denmark. “But we can see that the Danish wind turbine manufacturers are unique in terms of having high quality and long durability of the turbines.” 

READ MORE: Danish offshore wind could help Europe ditch fossil fuels 

Danish royal students go mainstream 

After a TV2 documentary revealed a culture of bullying at elite boarding school Herlufsholm, the royal family pulled Prince Christian, 16, and Princess Isabella, 15, from their enrollments. 

At the start of the new term today, Isabella begins at Ingrid Jespersens Gymnasium in Østerbro and Christian will attend Ordrup Gymnasium in Charlottenlund, about 20 minutes’ drive north of Copenhagen. 

“What characterizes the chosen schools is that they are quite normal,” says Thomas Larsen, political editor at Radio4 and author of books on the Danish royals. “It is not a boarding school that is largely reserved for the children of the elite. And therefore I believe that the choices they have made now will be well received by the Danes.”  

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