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

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
People march through Copenhagen on Saturday in protest against Denmark's decision to send Syrian refugees back to Damascus. Photo: Michael Barrett
Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Neighbouring countries want answers over spying report 

A major espionage story which broke over the weekend is dominating headlines in Denmark this morning.

Danish intelligence helped the United States to spy on top politicians in Europe, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from 2012 to 2014 Danish and European media reported on Sunday.

Broadcaster DR said the US National Security Agency (NSA) had eavesdropped on Danish internet cables to spy on top politicians and high-ranking officials in Germany, Sweden, Norway and France.

The Norwegian and Swedish defence ministers last night demanded an explanation from the Danish government and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück called the issue a “scandal”.

It is so far unclear whether Denmark authorised the US to use its surveillance system to spy on its neighbours.

We’ll have more detail in a report this morning.

Syrians and Danes protest against plans to return refugees

Thousands of people gathered in Copenhagen on Saturday to protest against the government’s plan to send a number of Syrian refugees back to Damascus. It is not the first such protest against the plan.

Denmark has so far withdrawn the asylum status of dozens of Syrians and is reviewing hundreds more, having deemed that Damascus is safe enough to return to on some cases. No other country in Europe has taken the position that anywhere in Syria is safe for the return of refugees.

I attended Saturday’s demonstration, which was conducted peacefully and attended by a large number of Syrians and Danes. Denmark’s current coronavirus assembly restrictions do not apply to pre-approved demonstrations.

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New public welfare system to be presented 

The government presented a string of new proposals in various areas last week, including higher education and public sports facilities. Today the employment minister Peter Hummelgaard will present recommendations for an update to the welfare support (kontanthjælp) system, the basic welfare safety net for people who are not in employment.

The proposal will be based on the recommendations of a commission, which has said any changes should be “expense-neutral”, DR reports.

Controversy over minks rumbles on

Work recently began to dig up millions of minks, culled late last year due to concerns over the spread of a mutated coronavirus in the animals. The animal remains will now be incinerated.

The mink issue has caused endless headaches for the government, which in January agreed a gigantic compensation package for breeders who have seen their farms shuttered over the matter.

Foods minister Rasmus Prehn previously said that the minks were buried due to a lack of capacity at incineration facilities. But a report by DR questioned whether this was indeed the case, suggesting the culled animals should never have been buried at all.


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