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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the 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 news on Monday
Danish finance minister Nicolai Wammen receives physical copies of the 2022 budget proposal on Sunday. Photo: Thomas Sjørup/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s government to present 2022 budget proposal on Monday

Denmark’s finance minister, Nicolai Wammen, will present the government’s budget proposal on Monday at a press conference live-streamed here at 11am.

According to the Ritzau newswire, the government intends to establish a running negotiating fund of 1.2 billion kroner a year, which it will then use to fund new commitments agreed with other parties during the year. 

The government also wants to set aside 4 billion kroner for future challenges around Covid-19. 

Travel blamed for rise in Covid-19 cases in Danish old age nursing homes 

Employees of elderly care homes who travelled abroad during the summer were largely responsible for bringing Covid-19 back to Denmark’s elderly care homes, Denmark’s Berlingske newspaper has reported. 

As many as 18 new cases were registered last week among fully vaccinated residents of Denmark’s care homes, according to the weekly statement from Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency.

Nis Peter Nissen, director of the Alzheimer’s Association, called the development “serious and worrying”.

“We must make every effort to analyze the causes and look at what can be done to reduce the risk,” he told Berlingske. “Do not sit on your hands and wait for it to go as wrong as it did last winter.” 

The preceding week, 12 cases of Covid-19 were registered among fully vaccinated residents in Danish elderly care homes. Five Covid-19-related deaths have been recorded.

Danish left-wing parties lobbying government to scrap tax reductions for cleaning and home improvements 

The Red-Green Alliance, Socialist Left, and Social Liberal party are together pushing the government to scrap the boligjobordningen, or “housing job scheme”, which gives tax breaks to those who employ cleaners, babysitters, nannies, window cleaners, gardeners, as well as for home improvements like replacing windows, insulation, installing solar cells, and painting outside walls. 

The scheme was brought in back in 2011 to help prop the economy up following the financial crisis, and was expanded last year during the pandemic. The three parties no longer believe it is necessary. 

Second Afghan evacuee held pending trial for breaking entry ban 

A 31-year-old man who arrived in Denmark on Tuesday after being evacuated from Afghanistan was placed in pre-trial custody for 13 days on Friday, pending trial for breaking a ban on entering the country. The man is the second evacuee from Kabul who has turned out to have been previously deported after being jailed in Denmark for a crime. 

On Tuesday, the man said that he had been employed by the Danish authorities in Kabul, and had been given the green light to be evacuated together with his wife and his two small children, who were aged two years and four months respectively.

Liberal Party slams government for going solo with Afghanistan evacuation inquiry 

The centre-right Liberal Party has sharply criticised Denmark’s government for launching an inquiry into the evacuation of Danish citizens and Afghan employees from Kabul without consulting with or agreeing the terms of the inquiry with other parliamentary parties. 

“The government should have convened all the parliamentary parties so that we could jointly decide a model for how this inquiry should take place,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, the Liberal Party’s foreign affairs spokesman, told Ritzau. 

The government on Friday announced that an inter-ministerial group comprising the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and other relevant underlying authorities – would be responsible for the evaluation.

“We cannot allow the government to investigate itself, and I expect a majority in the parliament to agree on this,” Aastrup Jensen said, calling for the inquiry to fully independent of the government. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds and hail, 'automatic' organ donation, and whether to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds, hail in forecasts 

Denmark can look forward to blustery weather this week, according to the latest forecasts by the Danish Meteorological Institute. “A grey and wet January is drawing to a close and it looks like the month is slamming the door with a bang,” DMI meteorologist Anesten Devasakayam writes. 

On Monday, January 30th, areas across the country will experience strong winds, Devaskayam says, as well as occasional hail. The wind is expected to keep pace as the week progresses, with brief reprieves on Tuesday and Thursday. 

READ MORE: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn) 

Government reluctant to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination 

Opposition parties say it’s unacceptable for the Danish Regions and national government to drag their feet on informing people their land could be contaminated with PFAS, ‘forever chemicals’ linked to health problems including cancer. 

The Regions, which are responsible for environmental cleanups in Denmark, have identified 16,000 plots they suspect are contaminated with PFAS due to industry activity. However, they have yet to inform the people who live there. That’s because the Regions plan to test each plot individually before reaching out — a process that could take decades without a dramatic increase in funding, according to broadcaster DR. 

Food grown in contaminated soil accumulates PFAS, and the Regions have identified many gardens and allotments that might be affected.

“When the Regions have this knowledge, I also think we need to inform the population whether it is their garden or farmland or a kindergarten that is located where there may actually be severe contamination,” Mai Villadsen of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) told DR. 

READ MORE: PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark 

Minister of Health: everyone in Denmark should automatically be organ donors 

Currently, Danes have to ‘opt in’ for organ donation —and fewer than one in three do, according to the National Board of Health. 

Health Minister Sophie Løhde contends that Denmark should join many other EU countries that have in recent years switched from opting in to organ donation to opting out. 

She says a ‘soft’ variant of the opt-out system could mean everyone automatically becomes organ donors after they turn 18, but family members still have the final say if the deceased hasn’t made their wishes explicit. 

However, the Danish Ethics Council, a government advisory body, believes in maintaining the opt-in status quo. 

“The right to control oneself and one’s own body is an important principle of health care. Therefore, our recommendation is that we stick to the principles that exist today,” says the council’s Leif Vestergaard. 

You can change your organ donation status here on sundhed.dk. In 2022, 21 patients in Denmark died waiting to receive an organ. 

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