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TODAY IN DENMARK

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

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 Wednesday
Danish fans fill Copenhagen’s Parken stadium during Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Israel. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Local authorities not convinced by government ‘useful jobs’ plan for unemployed

The government yesterday presented proposals for reforms to the social welfare benefits system. One of the biggest talking points revolves around a plan to require people in the integration system to work for 37 hours weekly to qualify for basic forms of unemployment benefits.

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The nature of the tasks to be performed by the eligible persons – estimated to number an initial 20,000 nationally, according to the government – would be decided on a local level by municipalities.

That has been met with skepticism by the interest organisation for municipalities, Kommunernes Landsforening (KL).

“We can’t get this done by feeding the dog with its own tail,” said KL chairperson and Aarhus mayor Jacob Bundsgaard, in reference to the potential drain on municipal job centre resources.

“We need to have a proper talk about how we are going to finance this in a way that doesn’t pull the rug from under the active work get people into employment,” Bundsgaard told news wire Ritzau.

“Otherwise we only risk increasing unemployment and the lack of labour at businesses,” he said.

Former PM’s new party close to approval for elections

When former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen left the Liberal party earlier this year, his future in Danish politics looked unclear.

But the ex-PM remains a political heavyweight and the new party formed by him at the beginning of the summer, the Moderates, now has just over two thirds of the 20,000 citizen’s declarations needed to qualify for general elections.

The party jumped from 7,400 to 14,000 declarations between Sunday and Wednesday, according to reports in Danish media.

Rasmussen has previously said his new party will attempt to unite Danes with a variety of different backgrounds and political viewpoints. It is not expected to launch fully until after November’s local elections.

Denmark assists 20 people in Afghanistan overland escape

Foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said yesterday evening that Denmark has helped 20 people on its own list to leave Afghanistan via an overland route.

In a written comment to news wire Ritzau, Kofod said that 11 of the 20 are former interpreters or local staff from the now-defunct Danish embassy in the country or with the EU, along with their family members.

The remaining nine are Danes who were registered with the foreign ministry, he said.

Denmark has worked to help its own nationals as well as Afghans who worked with Denmark in an official capacity to escape Afghanistan since last month’s takeover by the Taliban.

But Copenhagen has been accused of being too slow to react to the impending power change, while defence minister Trine Bramsen was criticised earlier this week after saying Denmark had not hired Afghan interpreters since 2001. While that is true, interpreters employed under the British military or a private American company worked closely with the Danish military after 2001.

READ ALSO: Danish parties strike deal to evacuate some Afghan employees

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Broad support for women's conscription, 'massive' issues at psychiatric centre that treated Field's shooter, and poor marks from NATO for Danish defense are among the top news stories in Denmark this Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Broad support for women’s conscription in Denmark 

The Minister of Defense and many political parties have thrown their support behind extending conscription to women in Denmark after trade unions representing Danish soldiers called for the change. 

“We must have equality for men and women in the Armed Forces,” Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told broadcaster TV2. “It is a challenge for the women who serve their military service that they are not measured on the same scale.” 

Eight political parties — Conservatives, the Danish People’s Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Social Liberals (Radikale), the New Right (Nye Borgerlige), Alternative, and the Left — have all voiced support for the measure. 

In 2022, 73 percent of people in military service were men, while 27 percent were female, according to news agency Ritzau. 

Today, men in Denmark are required to register for conscription following their 18th birthday, while registering for conscription is optional for women. 

A true draft hasn’t been in effect in Denmark for many years — the ranks of Denmark’s conscripts, about 4,500 a year, are filled with volunteers. They serve a standard service of four months, while specialized units (like the horse squadron) can serve up to 12 months. 

Inspectors: Withering criticism of psychiatric centre that treated Fields shooter 

An investigation by the Danish Patient Safety Authority has identified grave problems at Psychiatric Centre Amager, where the suspected Field’s shooter was treated before the attack, according to a draft of the agency’s report reviewed by newspaper Jyllands-Posten. 

The inspection was triggered when an employee at Psychiatric Centre Amager told authorities they suspected there had been failures in the man’s treatment. 

The Danish Patient Safety Authority finds that nurses routinely changed patients’ medications without consulting doctors, while medical students sometimes prescribed antipsychotic and sedative medications to patients again without consulting a doctor. 

The 22-year-old man charged with the Field’s shooting reached out to Psychiatric Centre Amager about six months before the attack. He was referred to four different departments within the Psychiatric Centre Amager, according to timelines produced by broadcaster TV2. 

READ MORE: Why does it take so long in Denmark to see a psychologist or therapist?

NATO report: Danish defense deficiencies 

Every two years, NATO assesses its members’ progress toward the alliance’s defense goals. While those reports are usually made public, the Danish government chose to censor the results of the most recent assessment, published several month ago, for fear of Russian exploitation. Even the previous minister of defense, Morten Bødskov, said he had not been allowed to review the contents of the report. 

But now, defense rapporteurs in Parliament have finally been briefed on the NATO report, according to news agency Ritzau. 

“We must not be naive,” says current defense minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. “This is a sensitive analysis of the Danish defense which points to our vulnerabilities. But within this framework, we must also be open about the challenges facing defense — both among the parties at Christianborg and in public.” 

READ MORE: US military unloads transport ship at Aarhus Harbour 

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