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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup 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.

A Christmas decoration near the Danish parliament on December 14th.
A Christmas decoration near the Danish parliament on December 14th.Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Number of foreigners who learn Danish jumps after charge for lessons scrapped 

The number of people learning Danish has significantly increased after a mandatory course fee at language centres was scrapped last summer, the Ministry for Immigration and Integration said in a statement released this morning.

People who would have been required to pay the fee under old rules – termed self-sufficient or selvforsørgende – numbered 10,499 in early 2020 before the charge was scrapped. In the second quarter of this year that number had risen to 18,707.

The course fee, revoked on July 1st last year, applied to foreigners in Denmark for work and study purposes as well as to refugees.

Nurses diverted from wards to Covid-19 vaccine push

Nurses, doctors and students have been diverted from daily operations at hospitals in order to administer Covid-19 vaccines as Denmark aims to give as many people as possible boosters to protect against the Omicron variant, broadcaster DR reports.

All hospitals in Central Jutland have been affected by the redeployments, according to the report.

The change in staffing will cause delays to operations and other procedures.

“But it is a necessary prioritisation. Otherwise, we risk so many people getting sick that we won’t have enough ICU beds,” medical director for the region’s hospitals Claus Brøckner Nielsen said to DR.

Sale of fireworks permitted

The sale of fireworks is restricted by law in Denmark to a period around Christmas and New Year, which begins today for the 2021 season.

Fireworks can be purchased up to and including December 31st – the day on which the vast majority of them are set off.

Although they can be purchased from today, fireworks can only be set off from December 27th, under rules introduced in 2014.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark go so crazy for New Year’s Eve fireworks?

Sizeable investment to protect coastline environments

Danish coasts need additional protection against rising water levels, erosion and flooding and will be given 90 million kroner via the Coastal Authority for 14 different projects, the environmental ministry said in a statement.

The money comes from a poll pledged for coastal protection by the government and left wing parties in last year’s budget.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Growing support for a new Danish 'nature law,' the EU recycling shakeup, and an update on government negotiations are among the top news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Blue parties throw support behind Danish ‘nature law’ initiative 

Protected nature areas make up just 2.3 percent of Denmark’s territory, according to a new report from the Danish Biodiversity Council. Two conservative ‘blue bloc’ parties — the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance — tell newspaper Politiken they’d support a new law to increase that underwhelming percentage. 

During the election campaign, four left-of-centre ‘red bloc’ parties — the Socialist People’s Party, the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), and Alternative — suggested the Danish Biodiversity Council draft a bill to bring Denmark in line with a European Union target of 30 percent protected nature with 10 percent strict protections, newswire Ritzau writes. 

Of the entire European Union, Denmark devotes the second-highest proportion of its territory to agriculture, making carveouts for nature more challenging. 
READ MORE: Here are Denmark’s 15 most beautiful natural areas 

Danish Waste Association: EU commission’s recycling initiatives would give Denmark a boost 

A leaked draft from the EU Commission reveals plans to require a certain percentage of post-consumer plastic in new packaging, Ritzau reports. The Danish Waste Association, which represents municipal and private waste companies, say the policy changes would represent an important step toward a true “circular economy” of plastic. 

“We can collect as much packaging waste as citizens have sorted,” says Danish Waste Association Niels Toftegaard. “But if the supermarkets and packaging manufacturers don’t want to use it in new packaging, or invest in the necessary technology to turn old package into new, we will never get a circular economy.” 

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri), an association representing the interests of Danish businesses and employers, says it expects companies will struggle to find enough high-quality recycled plastic in Denmark and Europe.

The full EU Commission proposal is expected to be presented November 30th. 

READ MORE: Denmark throws away too much plastic, recycling could save millions: report

Poulsen: no movement on ‘broad government’ negotiations

Søren Pape Poulsen, leader of the Conservative party, says Denmark is “neither further from nor closer to a government” across the centre aisle after the party’s most recent negotiation with Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats. 

“Everyone knows that labour market reforms are needed, but so much else is needed. And what should it look like? We all know that health reform is needed, education reforms are needed, and more free choice is needed,” Poulsen told Ritzau. 

“You can’t just sit and design that in an hour and a half, and so of course we talk about what those principles are. And wherever we end up” — referring to whether the Conservatives join the government — “we want to help influence that process,” he said.

READ MORE: What do Danish Liberals want from government negotiations?

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