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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.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark okays gas pipeline connecting Norway and Poland

Work on a subsea pipeline between Norway and Poland aimed at reducing Warsaw’s dependence on Russian gas has resumed after being suspended for environmental reasons, Danish state-owned firm Energinet said yesterday.

In 2021, the Danish Environmental and Food Appeals Board withdrew the permit for the 210-kilometre Danish section of the Baltic Sea pipeline, citing concerns about animal species.

The pipeline will supply Norwegian gas to Poland, which in 2019 announced it would not extend its contract with Russian giant Gazprom beyond 2022.

Injured Danish journalists evacuated from Ukraine

Journalist Stefan Weichert and photographer Emil Filtenborg of Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, who were on Saturday shot and injured while reporting in Ukraine, have now left the country, their employer writes.

Weichart was hit in the shoulder and Filtenborg in both legs and his lower back.

“We are happy, tired and a bit sore. We were there to cover the war and the consequences for civilians. So it’s a nuisance to be part of the story. This isn’t about us,” Filtenborg told Ekstra Bladet.

Their exact location and plans to return to Denmark have not been made public.

READ ALSO: How you can help Ukrainian media

Danish weapons arrive in Ukraine

Weapons Denmark said it would give Ukraine have arrived in the Eastern European country, broadcaster DR reports.

Defence minister Morten Bødskov confirmed to media yesterday afternoon that the weapons had reached Ukraine.

“It was both an impressive and fast effort. To those who helped: your effort means a lot. You make Denmark proud,” the minister said.

The Ministry of Defence yesterday released a video of a carrier aircraft loaded with 2,700 shoulder-mounter anti-tank weapons.

Danish universities cut ties with Russian and Belarusian universities

Universities in Denmark will not continue partnerships with higher education institutions in Russia or Belarus, they announced yesterday. The decision was made in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“This means, including other things, that there will be no exchange of academic staff or students going forward. It also means that conferences and other scientific meetings on Russian and Belarusian ground will be without participation of researchers employed by Danish universities,” they said in the statement.

Russian and Belarusian students and staff already at Danish universities will be able to continue as before the war.

“At Danish universities we distinguish between the Russian state and Russian citizens,” the statement read.

Thick fog in parts of Jutland and Funen

Thick fog is reducing visibility in parts of southern Denmark, particularly Jutland and Funen, this morning.

Visibility can be reduced to under 100 metres, met office DMI said.

The fog is forecast to lift during the morning.

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Falling unemployment, the Danish government refusing to accept debt payments from citizens, and plans for a fully swimmable Copenhagen harbour are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

Having a debt to the Danish public sector on your books can have serious financial consequences, including jeopardizing your eligibility to secure a mortgage. But from January to October 2022, 138,000 Danes trying to square their debts with the government were refused due to confusion about whether the Danish Debt Collection Agency actually has the right to receive it, newspaper Berlingske reports.

Data from the agency indicate the number of debts considered “not ready for recovery” has leapt 1.5 million this year alone. Half of those debts are connected to Danish tax agency, Skat. 

According to Berlingske, the issues with ‘unpayable’ debts arose in 2015 when EFI, the IT system Skat used to collect debt, was shuttered. 

Based on the scale of the problem, the government will have to consider cancelling some of the debts, Peter Bjerre Mortensen, professor of public administration at Aarhus University, tells Berlingske. 

“They need to swallow some very big camels and/or simplify some legislation or forgive some debts, because right now it seems that things are still going the wrong way,” Mortensen says. 

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket? 

Politicians push for ‘fully swimmable’ Copenhagen harbour 

Currently, swimming in Copenhagen’s harbours is only allowed at 11 designated bathing zones — though that doesn’t deter the estimated 200,000 people who take a dip elsewhere in the harbour yearly, risking fines. Now, Copenhagen mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen and other local politicians hope to flip the system on its head, making the vast majority of the harbour swimmable with a few ‘no-go’ zones. 

City officials plan to mark certain areas — for instance, near wastewater outlets or sailboat traffic — with ‘no swimming’ signs. 

READ MORE: Why the shocking cold of winter bathing is a Nordic favourite 

Unemployment continues to fall in Denmark 

October marked another record-breaking low for unemployment in Denmark, according to data from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment and the Danish Chamber of Commerce. 

Just 11,519 full-time workers were experiencing ‘long-term unemployment’ (meaning they had been unemployed for at least 80 percent of the previous year) in October. That’s down from 12,400 in September, which was the lowest figure in 26 years, according to newswire Ritzau. 

In March 2020, there were 22,000 long-term unemployment benefit recipients, which spiked to 40,000 in April 2021.