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

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 Thursday
A file photo taken at southern Funen town Svendborg. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Man apologises for racist verbal abuse of family 

Newspaper Ekstra Bladet has tracked down the ‘man in the green jacket’ who on Saturday was filmed directing torrents of racist verbal abuse at a family with two small children at Kastrup Harbour near Copenhagen.

“I want to say sorry many times to this family, because I behaved stupidly,” the man, identified by his first name, Lars, told Ekstra Bladet.

“I’m ashamed that I acted like this towards another person. It’s totally out of line. I can’t forgive myself for it, I really can’t,” he said.

Politicians from all mainstream parties, including Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, this week condemned the incident. The episode also resulted in a broader debate about the impact of the political tone in Denmark, where criticism of immigrants, particularly from Middle Eastern countries, is mainstream.

READ ALSO: Racism in Denmark: Video of abuse sparks debate over political tone

Government to announce plan to place education programmes in new locations

The government is today scheduled to present a proposal to place education programmes such as teacher training, mechanical engineering and ergotherapy in a broader range of smaller towns across Denmark.

Svendborg, Sønderborg, Holbæk and Haderslev are among towns which could benefit according to broadcaster DR.

One of the aims of the proposal is to give a more even distribution of education programmes between larger cities and smaller towns, boosting local communities.

But the University of Copenhagen’s rector Henrik C. Wegener expressed concern that the plan could “damage the quality of education and research environments we’ve sought to build for decades” and that the university could be forced to close some of its programmes.

UNHCR asks parliament to reject government proposal to move asylum seekers to third country

The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR has issued a statement in which it asks the Danish parliament not to pass a recent bill, tabled by the government, which would enable the country to house and process asylum seekers in third countries.

Danish ministers recently visited central African country Rwanda to agree a deal which has been rumoured to pave the way for such an arrangement.

READ ALSO:

In the statement, the UNHCR writes that “transfer of the asylum process and protection of refugees in a country outside of Europe is not a responsible or sustainable solution – and would also be in breach if the principles on which international refugee partnerships stand”.

“By initiating such a drastic and restrictive change to Danish refugee laws, Denmark risks starting a domino effect… this could lead to a frightening race to the bottom, where the lives and welfare of refugees will be put in danger and their protection significantly worsened,” it adds.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

An agreement on a change to the pay limit scheme, Covid infection rates, and the latest on monkeypox are among the top headlines in Denmark this Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Parliament lowers salary required for pay limit scheme 

Yesterday evening, the Danish parliament agreed on a significant change to the pay limit scheme, which grants residence permits to foreign workers with job offers in Denmark above a yearly salary threshold. 

As of December 1st, salaries at or above 375,000 kroner will qualify for the scheme. (Based on today’s exchange rates, that’s the equivalent of $52,662, €50,394 and £43,355.)

It’s a 16 percent decrease from the current pay limit of 448,000, and the lowered threshold will exist on a trial basis for the next three years. 

The decision comes after months of political wrangling over the terms of the reduction. Supporters of the reform say the change is necessary to help alleviate soaring demand for labour in Denmark. 

Look out for a full report on this story on our website this morning.

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national? 

Serious illness stays low as Covid-19 case counts triple 

Since June 1st, positive PCR tests have nearly tripled in Denmark — and while hospital admissions for Covid patients have increased slightly, there hasn’t been a dramatic increase in serious illness from the virus, according to a press release from the National Board of Health. 

Health officials have kept a close eye on hospital admissions in light of BA.5., the new Omicron sub-variant that now accounts for the majority of cases in Denmark. Their analysis and studies in other countries suggest BA.5 does not cause more serious illness on a population level than previous variants. 

“We expect to look forward to a relatively calm summer, but we naturally keep an eye on whether there are changes in the infection situation,” Søren Brostrøm, director of the National Board of Health, told newswire Ritzau. 

Authorities earlier this week suggested the summer wave of infections is already waning.

What’s the status of monkeypox in Denmark? 

Two more cases of monkeypox were confirmed yesterday by the Ministry of Health, bringing the national tally to 18 since May 23rd. 

Officials have identified and vaccinated 22 close contacts to the known cases, the Ministry added. 

Since monkeypox can only be transmitted by touch when the characteristic rash with white blisters is already present, the risk to the population remains very low, scientists say. 

Thulesen Dahl leaves Danish People’s Party

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, former chairman and co-founder of the Danish People’s Party, has finally resigned after weeks of deliberation. His departure is the eleventh from the party in the past six months, leaving only five members in parliament. 

Thulesen Dahl says he will consider Inger Støjberg’s offer to join the Denmark Democrats, a new party currently gathering voter declarations to qualify for seats in parliament. 
READ ALSO: Danish People’s Party decimated by new high-profile departures 

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