Economically stable Denmark signals end of coronavirus help for businesses

Denmark is to withdraw financial support for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as the country continues to return to normal conditions following the end of general Covid-19 restrictions.

Shoppers have returned to streets in strong numbers. Denmark has signalled the end of Covid-19 support for businesses by the end of the year.
Shoppers have returned to streets in strong numbers. Denmark has signalled the end of Covid-19 support for businesses by the end of the year. Photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

New rules taking effect on Thursday mean that only businesses which have lost 45 percent or more of their turnover due to the pandemic can apply for help paying for overheads.

The provision will remain in place for the rest of the year, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry, Business, and Financial Affairs.

Previous rules, in effect since July, also allowed self-employed people with losses of 45 percent or more of turnover to be compensated by up to 90 percent. That expires as scheduled on Thursday.

“Denmark’s economy is barrelling forwards after corona. More Danes than ever are working and the economy is expected to grow by 3.8 percent this year,” the ministry said in a statement.

Unemployment levels have been falling throughout the period following the post-lockdown reopening.

The number of people out of work fell by 5,600 to a total of 101,300 between July and August, according to seasonally-corrected data from Statistics Denmark. That brought unemployment to its lowest number since January 2009.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have so many job vacancies? 

An estimate for economic growth during the second quarter of this year has meanwhile been raised after an earlier projection proved too low, revised Statistics Denmark figures show.

GDP is now estimated to have grown by 2.8 percent in the second quarter. The earlier estimate was 2.3 percent.

“We are now living in a society without corona restrictions. And that makes a big difference to Danish businesses, which for the most part have got their wheels turning again,” businesses minister Simon Kollerup said in the statement

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.