Danish PM Frederiksen to be questioned over Covid-19 mink culls

Danish PM Frederiksen to be questioned over Covid-19 mink culls
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks to press following the government's order to cull fur farm minks in November 2020. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is to be questioned later this year by an official inquiry into her government’s decision to cull all farmed mink in Denmark.

Frederiksen will speak to the inquiry, officially named granskningskommissionen, on December 9th, a witness list published by the inquiry shows.

Hearings by the commission begin on October 7th with the PM the last scheduled witness on the list, though extra time for extended interviews has been made available until January 28th.

The mink inquiry is related to the government’s decision last November to cull millions of minks at breeding farms across the country, after a concerning variant of Covid-19 was discovered in the animals.

Days after the decision was announced, it emerged that the government had no legal authority to make it.

That resulted in accusations the government had issued an illegal directive which was then implemented by authorities.

The issue resulted in the resignation of then-agriculture minister Mogens Jensen.

Subsequently, an inquiry was initiated to investigate the government’s response to the situation.

All parties in parliament backed the commission, which is the first of its kind in Denmark.

It differs from the established form of inquiry, termed undersøgelseskommision (investigation commission) in that it is further-reaching – for example, by being able to summon witnesses for interview, rather than relying only legal reports or written accounts.

Conservative parties in particular have strongly criticised the government’s conduct over the mink issue. Conservative Party leader Søren Pape Poulsen called it a “scandal” when speaking at a party congress last week.

As well as Frederiken and Jensen, other ministers including Nick Hækkerup (justice) and Nicolai Wammen (finance) have been called by the inquiry.

READ ALSO: Denmark to spend billions on compensation deal for mink farmers

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