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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Legal gender reassignment for Danish children, a possible cap on visas for Russian tourists, and 'accidental' 6,000 kroner cheques are among the top news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
Prime minister Mette Frekeriksen, seen here with partymate Nicolai Wammen, faces mounting pressure to call for a general election. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Russian tourists have flocked to Denmark. Ukraine wants us to cut them off. 

In the first months of 2022, Denmark issued three times as many tourist visas to Russians than in the previous year, newspaper Politiken reported Monday. But now, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is asking western leaders to close the door on Russian tourists, according to newswire Ritzau. 

Vladimir Barbin, Russian ambassador to Denmark, sees potential travel restrictions as an attack on human rights. “In short, human rights in the West are apparently only remembered when it is beneficial, and they are forgotten without remorse when it comes to Russians,” Barbin wrote to Ritzau. In the same statement, he described Russia’s invasion as a “special military operation.” 

Denmark’s minister of immigration plans to wait for a broader EU solution. “It is clear that if there is just one country in Europe where Russians can enter, then in principle you can enter the entire Schengen area,” Kaare Dybvad told Politiken.  “Therefore, it is the EU framework in which it must be done.” 

READ MORE: Who visits Denmark in the summer and where do tourists go? 

Government proposes removing age limit for legal gender change 

The government’s LGBTQ+ plan, presented Monday, includes a proposal to expand access to legal gender change to all children regardless of age. 

Currently, only after the age of 18 can people apply to legally change their gender marker on government documents. 

The new plan would strike that age cap, but children 15 years of age or younger would need the consent of their parents or guardians. It’s the second time the Social Democrats have proposed the change — it failed to garner enough support among other government parties two years ago. 

The Danish Parliament consulted with the Ethics Council on the issue of appropriate ages for legal gender change, which proposed lowering the age limit to 10-12 years old. 

Bank error in your favor! Some received heating subsidy in error 

When the 6,000 kroner cheques went out to households heated by gas boilers, some households with different heating systems received a happy surprise. 

The government used a municipal system called the Building and Housing Register (abbreviated BBR in Danish) to determine who should receive the cheques — if you make any changes to your home, including replacing a boiler or building a tool shed, you’re supposed to inform the municipality. The problem is that many people aren’t aware of this or believe it’s included in the permitting information contractors file with authorities. 

A provision in the legislation authorising the ‘heat cheques’ says that if a cheque is sent due to government error, the recipient isn’t required to return the money. (In fact, you can’t even if you want to — authorities are asking accidental recipients not to contact them.) 

READ MORE: Denmark boosts heating bill help and will give it to more households 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Defence minister to discuss Nord Stream explosions with Nato, parliament to look at working environments at churches, and other news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Defence minister to discuss Nord Stream pipeline leaks with Nato

Three leaks in Baltic Sea gas pipelines connecting Russia and Europe were detected yesterday, including two in the Danish economic zone of the waters.

Footage and photos released by the Danish military showed the surface of the Baltic frothing dramatically, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the leakages were due to “deliberate acts” and “not an accident”.

Defence Minister Morten Bødskov is scheduled to meet with Nato’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels today, where the incident will be discussed.

Social Liberals still want early election

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party earlier this year demanded PM Frederiksen call an early election. The demand was issued in response to the conclusions of an inquiry into the government’s 2020 mink scandal, which resulted in Frederiksen receiving a rebuke.

READ ALSO: How likely is Denmark to have a general election ahead of schedule?

The centre-left party, a parliamentary ally of the governing Social Democrats, yesterday said it is sticking to the demand despite a raised alert level in Denmark after this week’s explosions and leakages at the Nord Stream gas pipes.

“This happened in international waters. It is not an attack on Denmark,” Social Liberal leader Sofie Carsten Nielsen said in an Instagram post yesterday evening.

Church ministry to address working environment issues at places of worship

An open parliamentary committee will today address the issue of working environment problems at the Church of Denmark (Folkekirken), broadcaster DR reports.

The committee follows the broadcaster’s reports of bullying, harassment and physical intimidation at a number of churches in Denmark.

Medicine costs too much in Denmark, watchdog says

The price of medicine in Denmark is too high and should be remedied by increasing the number of pharmacies and reducing costs through competition, according to watchdog agency Konkurrencerådet.

The agency also wants medicine to be more accessible for online purchase, newspaper Jyllands-Posten writes. Currently, regulation in the sector limits competition, it said.

The Danish Pharmacists’ Society (Apotekerforeningen) disagrees with the criticism, saying Danish medicine prices are not higher than those in other European countries and that prices have not been pushed up by inflation.

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