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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Why your local bakery could be in jeopardy, the parties pushing for more energy aid, and nixed ice rinks are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
There may not be an official election date on the books, but speculation that prime minister Mette Frederiksen may call an election soon is enough to have Copenhagen's buses wrapped in political ads. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

It’s all about the energy crisis in Danish news these days. Here’s the latest. 

Support parties say government energy plan doesn’t go far enough 

At a Wednesday press conference, prime minister Mette Frederiksen presented a plan to allow consumers to pay excess energy bills over the course of up to five years. 

“This means that if the price of electricity, gas or district heating exceeds the price from last autumn, 2021, then you will be able to postpone payment of the excess amount to a later date, spread over several years,” she said.

Support parties the Social Liberals (De Radikale) and the Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, or SF) approve of the plan but insist direct financial support is urgently needed. 

“It’s a bit like a Panodil in a situation where penicillin is needed and a stronger cure for the situation we are in,” Martin Lidegaard, deputy chairman of the Social Liberals, tells newswire Ritzau. 

“Our suggestion is to raise the green cheque, give them an extra tax deduction, which can be a real help — instead of the poorest getting into debt that they cannot pay,” says Søren Egge Rasmussen, energy and supply commissioner for the Red-Green Alliance, another supporting party. 

READ MORE: Denmark presents plan to allow delayed payment of large energy bills 

Bakeries crumble under energy crunch

Currently, every week in Denmark sees another bakery or two turn off its ovens for good, industry association Bakery and Pastry Masters in Denmark tells broadcaster DR

“If the development we have seen in the last two months continues, we fear that we will loose 20-25 more bakery shops before Christmas,” says organisation CEO Henrik Mühlendorph.

It’s a “perfect storm” for bakers, Mühlendorph explains — ballooning energy prices coupled with more expensive grain and butter  grains makes for a “deadly” combination. 

EU proposal caps profits for fossil fuels — and green energy 

The EU Commission hopes to fund energy relief projects for private consumers by capping the profits for energy companies, including green energy such as wind and solar.

Green energy associations say it’s an unfair hit for an industry that should be encouraged, while an Aalborg professor of energy planning sees the measure as reasonable. 

“The proposal will undermine the green transition when the incentive for investments in wind turbines and solar cells is reduced,” Lasse Hamilton Heidemann, EU and international head at the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv), told Ritzau. 

Aalborg University’s Brian Vad Mathiesen describes a possible price cap on renewables “unfortunate” but necessary, Ritzau reports. “According to this proposal, there will still be a large profit for renewable energy,” he says. According to Reuters, wind, solar, and nuclear energy companies would see revenue caps of 180 euros per megawatt hour of energy.

READ MORE: Why Denmark’s climate targets make electricity network a soft spot for hackers

Municipalities nix ice rinks 

Middelfart, Esbjerg and Aarhus have chosen to forego their outdoor ice skating rinks this winter to save on energy costs, according to Ritzau. 

“Such an ice rink is an expensive pleasure. Especially this year, when the heat is turned down, we want to send a political signal,” says Jakob Lose, chairman of the culture and leisure commission in Esbjerg. 

Lose explains that an outdoor ice rink typically racks up 30,000 kilowatt-hours over a season, while the average Danish household uses 4,500 kilowatt-hours in an entire year. 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Prince Joachim’s reaction to his children losing their titles, a potential MitID security weak spot, and other news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

‘No timeframe’ for fixing Nord Stream pipelines

Nord Stream’s operator said yesterday it was unable to immediately assess damage to pipelines linking Russia to Europe, threatening an indeterminate outage. That came after Sweden detected a fourth leak and NATO decried “acts of sabotage”. 

Nord Stream’s operator said it “intends to start assessing the damage to the pipeline as soon as it receives necessary official permits”, news wire AFP reports.

It said access could be allowed “only after the pressure in the gas pipeline has stabilised and the gas leakage has stopped”. 

“Until the completion of the damage assessment, it is not possible to predict the timeframe for restoration of the gas transmission infrastructure”, the operator said.

NATO declared the damage was “the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage” and said it supported investigations to determine the origin of the damage.

READ ALSO: Could Baltic Sea gas pipe leaks affect Denmark’s election timeline?

Prince Joachim not happy after children lose titles

In a rare episode of public drama in the Danish royal family, Prince Joachim, the Queen’s second son, yesterday went to the media to express his disappointment over the decision to remove the titles of ‘prince’ and ‘princess’ from his children as of next year.

Prince Joachim’s four children will no longer be princes or princesses but will retain their other titles as Count or Countess of Monpezat, the royal palace announced on Wednesday. The decision was taken by Queen Margrethe.

“It’s never fun to see your children harmed in this way. They themselves are in a situation they don’t understand,” Prince Joachim told newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

In a longer interview with another newspaper, BT, the prince said the decision to change the children’s titles had been moved forward.

“This whole idea was take my children’s identity from them when they each reach 25 years of age… I was given five days’ warning when the decision was brought forward,” he said.

‘Simple hack’ can breach MitID, media reports

Media Version2, a supplement of engineering journal Ingeniøren, reports that a coding trick can enable hackers to easily identify the usernames of MitID users.

The MitID digital ID system is gradually replacing NemID as the online ID used in Denmark for access to public service platforms, online banking and shopping online.

READ ALSO: MitID takes over as default option on Danish platforms

The Danish Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) told Ingeniøren that it would investigate the issue.

NemID will be turned off for secure platforms like banking and public services on October 31st. After this date, only MitID can be used to log on.

Other platforms, like online shopping, will still accept NemID for now. The old system will be fully decommissioned on June 30th, 2023. 

Cancer charity wants to ban solariums for under-18s

The Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) says that increasing numbers of young people are using solariums in Denmark and that regulation is therefore needed on the area.

A report from the charity finds that 16 percent of young people aged between 15 and 25 use tanning salons, an increase from 10 percent two years ago.

“This calls for us needing an age limit of 18 years for use of solariums. Because if this continues, we will have more cases of skin cancer in future,” project manager Peter Dalum told news wire Ritzau.

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