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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

How Covid helped some Danes kick a cigarette habit, whether mistaken heat cheques need to be returned, and record-breaking energy prices are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Queen Margrethe's watercolors, paintings, and multi-media art are on display in a gallery in France. Photo: Valentine Chapuis/ AFP

Mistaken heat cheques may need to be returned after all  

Perhaps don’t spend that 6,000 kroner windfall just yet — the minister of climate, energy, and supply wants to revisit whether people who received heating cheques by mistake should get to keep the money. 

The heating cheques are intended to support households heated by gas as prices soar, but the government used an online database that relies on self-reported information from homeowners to determine who was eligible. That meant some households that have since switched from gas to another heat source, or have even moved to a different residence altogether, received the cheques in error. 

Minister Dan Jørgensen told TV Avisen he’s asking the parties that supported the original legislation behind the heat cheques to discuss ways of recovering the misspent money. The legislation explicitly said that heat cheques sent in error not only should not be returned, but must not be paid back. 

The system’s goal was to get the money in the accounts of people who need it  as quickly as possible without the delay and added expense of an application process, which could also exclude the most vulnerable, broadcaster DR reports

Electricity price on Wednesday broke Danish record

At about 7 pm Wednesday evening, the price of a kilowatt-hour of energy reached 8.42 kroner, the highest figure recorded in the last 12 years according to TV2. 

Daily and weekly averages are also at record levels, Carsten Smidt, director of the Danish Supply Authority, told DR. According to Nord Pool, the electricity market that covers Nordic countries, prices are three times as high as the same period last year. 

“If prices remain at the current level, an ordinary average family with a variable contract will pay 15,000 kroner more this year than last year for their electricity bill,” economist Brian Friis Helmer of Arbejdernes Landsbank told DR. 

READ MORE: Denmark’s energy agency to look at possible saving measures 

Large fire on Amager extinguished

A Wednesday night fire in a pizzeria on Amagerbrogade, the main high street in Amager south of Copenhagen, spread to first floor apartments before it was extinguished, according to authorities. 

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but no injuries have been reported. 

A kick in the (cigarette) butt: Danish cigarette smokers quit more often, smoked less during pandemic 

According to new research from the University of Copenhagen, more Danish cigarette smokers kicked the habit or reduced their dependence during the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

Smokers bought 20 percent fewer cigarettes on a weekly basis in 2020 than before lockdowns began, and the number of people who quit cigarettes altogether increased 10 percent relative to the year before. 

“We can learn from it that smokers actually react to it when they can see the consequences [of smoking] more clearly right now and here,” University of Copenhagen associate professor Toke Reinholt Fosgaard told newswire Ritzau. 

“You can use prices and make it more expensive to smoke, but you can also try to shift information and awareness around the consequences so that it feels closer,” he added. 

It’s unclear whether the people who quit or reduced their consumption of cigarettes during the pandemic were able to keep it up after 2020, though researchers say they’re hopeful data from 2021 will show a lasting change.

READ MORE: Denmark considers permanent ban on cigarette sales for people born after 2010 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Thermostats turned down at workplaces, a bleak security outlook and other news in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Take a warm jumper to work 

Schools, educational institutions and public workplaces – as well as private workplaces wishing to do so – are now running their thermostats at 19 degrees Celsius as one of a number of measures implemented or recommended by the government to save energy in the coming months.

Normally, thermostats are at least a couple of degrees warmer than this, but this year’s fyringssæson or heating season will be a thrifty one due to inflation and potential energy shortages.

The measure came into effect on October 1st, so now’s the time to start bringing that chunky woollen jumper with you to work.

READ ALSO: How are Denmark’s schools preparing for lower heating this winter?

Security policy report to be published

A major report on Denmark’s security situation, the Zilmer report, will be published today. The report is scheduled to be presented at a briefing at royal residence Fredensborg Palace north of Copenhagen.

According to broadcaster DR, the report makes for bleak reading, with threats against Denmark piling up as the international security situation deteriorates.

An analysis in the report, “Danish security and defence towards 2035”, posits that a new iron curtain is likely to fall over Europe in coming years and that nuclear arsenals will grow.

Denmark to send howitzers to Ukraine

Denmark, along with Germany and Norway, will supply Ukraine with 16 armoured howitzer artillery systems from next year, Berlin said yesterday. Kyiv has sought heavier weapons to boost its fightback against Russia.

The weapons will be produced in Slovakia, with delivery to Ukraine to begin in 2023.

The three countries agreed to jointly finance the procurement of the Slovakian Zuzana-2 guns at a cost of 92 million euros, the defence ministry in Berlin said.

You can read more on this story here.

Danish Red Cross brings in 12.8 millioner kroner in national fundraiser

Sunday’s annual Red Cross fundraising day resulted in the charity receiving 12.8 million kroner in donations.

The total amount is 2.5 million kroner less than was raised in 2021, but Secretary General Anders Ladekarl praised the charity of Danes during a time of economic hardship.

“We are experiencing a lot of goodwill to donate,” he told news wire Ritzau.

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