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Danish PM 'grossly misled' during 2020 mink announcement

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish PM 'grossly misled' during 2020 mink announcement
An official Danish commission on Thursday submitted its report into the 2020 decision to cull fur farm mink.

An official inquiry has found that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen “grossly misled” at a November 4th 2020 press briefing when she announced that all Denmark’s captive mink population must be culled, according to initial reports of the commission’s findings.

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Several million mink were culled following the government decision in early November 2020, which was made amid concerns that mutated versions of Covid-19 could emerge from the animals and threaten the effectiveness of vaccines against the coronavirus.

The government order to cull the minks was later found to have no legal basis.

A commission was subsequently appointed to lead an official inquiry into the scandal and was due to submit its conclusions on Thursday.

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The commission concluded that Frederiksen’s announcements “objectively seen, were grossly misleading”, news wire Ritzau reports.

The conclusions have not yet been made public but have been partly leaked to broadcasters DR and TV2.

The commission also said that Frederiksen “did not have knowledge about of the intention of” misleading, meaning she was not aware that the legal basis for the decision was not in place, according to the reports.

It is not the duty of the commission to make a legal assessment of whether ministers acted intentionally or recklessly.

Parliament has the responsibility for final conclusions, meaning that the minority Social Democratic government’s allied parties on the left wing are likely to have a decisive say in whether the matter is taken forward, following the submission of the commission’s report.

Potential consequences for Frederiksen could take the form of an official reprimand, known as a næse, or the appointment of a special impeachment court, a rare occurrence in Danish politics.

Frederiksen is currently attending a Nato summit in Madrid and was not expected to comment on the matter on Thursday. Earlier this week, she said she “did not believe there was basis for an impeachment court” over the mink scandal.

Denmark was the world’s leading exporter of mink fur until it decided in November 2020 to cull all its 15-17 million minks, after studies suggested that a variant found in some of the animals could jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

The variant was later considered to have been eradicated before a compensation package worth billions of kroner was agreed for the farmers.

The original order by the government to cull the mink was shown to have been illegal shortly after the initial culling order was given, resulting in one of the biggest scandals in modern Danish politics.

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