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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and party leaders
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and party leaders during Sunday's press briefing over Denmark's defence policies. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Danes to vote on scrapping EU defence opt-out

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen yesterday called for citizens to vote to overturn Denmark’s opt-out from EU defence policy in a referendum to be held on June 1st, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Historic times call for historic decisions,” Frederiksen told a news conference, adding that the government “very clearly calls on Danes to lift the opt-out on defence”. 

Denmark’s opt-out, one of four EU special arrangements negotiated by the Scandinavian country, has seen it abstain from participation in EU military operations and from providing support or supplies to EU-led defence efforts.

“For me, as prime minister, this is a values-based decision,” Frederiksen said. 

We’ll have more on this in an article on our website this morning.

Denmark must be independent of Russian gas: Frederiksen

During the briefing at which the referendum was announced, Frederiksen also said the government wants to ensure Denmark no longer relies on Russia for its gas supply.

Energy prices were already high in Denmark prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the war is likely to result in further uncertainty over energy.

The government will also increase defence spending, Frederiksen said at the briefing.

An agreement for spending has been made across the political aisle, with the opposition Liberal and Conservative parties supporting it as well as the Social Liberals and Socialist People’s parties on the left.

“It is the biggest investment (in the military) in modern times,” Frederiksen said.

Weather: More sunshine and low winds

The sunny start to March is to continue for the time being with plenty of sun and calm wind conditions forecast throughout Monday.

The calm conditions are keeping temperatures low at night, with frost in most areas. Jutland town Horsens measured as cold as 8 degrees below freezing during the night, according to broadcaster DR.

This afternoon will feel more spring-like, with the sun bringing temperatures up to 6-7 degrees Celsius.

Covid-19: new cases at lowest level this year

The number of new Covid-19 cases in Denmark was yesterday the lowest since January this year, according to data from the infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI).

Sunday’s daily update showed 10,827 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

40,972 PCR tests were administered, giving a test positivity rate of 26.4 percent.

READ ALSO: Covid infections in Denmark at lowest since January

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For members


Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Murder at a luxury Copenhagen hotel, changes to laws on Ukrainian refugees, and new Covid surveillance strategies are among the top news stories in Denmark this Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Danish government wants to make Ukrainian refugee “start date” more flexible 

As the law currently stands, Ukrainians who happened to have left their home country — perhaps for vacation or business — just before war broke out could have trouble gaining residence in Denmark. 

The Danish government have announced plans to change the ‘cut-off date’ for when people must have left Ukraine to be considered war refugees from February 24th to February 1st. 

Parliament will consider the amendment to the current “Ukrainian law,” which grants two years’ residence to refugees who meet certain stipulations, including when they fled the country. 

READ ALSO: Denmark plans ‘Ukraine towns’ to accommodate war refugees 

Without widespread testing, how will Denmark predict next Covid wave? 

With Denmark’s once-wide network of public Covid test sites nearly gone, the State Serum Institute — Denmark’s infectious disease agency — is piloting a new program that it hopes will detect upticks in infections.

Ten thousand blood donors and the members of their households will be randomly chosen to participate in the “PCR Home Test Study,” the SSI says. Those who agree to participate will receive test kits from the government and will be asked to self-test once a week for a month, registering each sample in TestCenter Denmark’s app and sending it to the SSI for processing. 

If a new wave is detected, the SSI will consider recommending boosters for groups at high risk, director Henrik Ullum told Danish newswire Ritzau. 

If the program is successful, it could be deployed to monitor other respiratory viruses, such as the flu, Ullum added. 

READ ALSO: Which Covid self-tests should you buy (and avoid) in Denmark? 

Danish man pleads guilty to bow and arrow attack in Norway 

Espen Andersen Brathen the 38-year-old Danish man accused of using a bow and arrow outside a supermarket and stabbing five to death with a knife in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg last October, pleaded guilty to all charges yesterday. 

Although the attack was initially thought to be an act of terrorism, three experts who observed him assessed that Brathen was experiencing paranoid schizophrenia, newswire Agence France-Presse reports. Both the prosecution and defense agree that a psychiatric commitment, rather than a prison sentence, is appropriate. 

Murder at luxury Copenhagen hotel 

The NH Collection on Strandgade — home to the “Feel Safe at NH” campaign during the Covid pandemic — was the site of what authorities describe as a brutal murder on Sunday.  

A 28-year-old man suffered head injuries in a room in the NH Collection, where rooms start at 3000 kroner a night, and died of his injuries Monday evening. Police have one man, a 20-year-old, in custody for the crime and are seeking a 24-year-old Dutch citizen as an alleged accomplice. 

Authorities also suspect the 20-year-old currently in custody in another crime three hours after the incident on Strandgade — a gruesome knife attack at an “apartment hotel” in Silkegade. According to charges read at a preliminary hearing in court yesterday, the second victim was stabbed repeatedly, his cheek was ripped open, and an ear was cut off.