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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Whether the prime minister will call an election and schools struggling to keep the lights on are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Den Blå Planet near Copenhagen is one of many Danish attractions with increased overheads due to high energy prices. File photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

15 day countdown: will PM Frederiksen call election? 

Amid the fallout from Minkgate, the Social Liberals (De Radikale) have threatened to pull the rug out from under prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s government if she doesn’t call an election by their deadline of October 4th. 

However, Frederiksen says she’d prefer to focus on issues facing Danes — including the energy crisis — than political intrigue and says it’s up to the Social Liberals to decide their position. 

She adds it would be “unforgivable if some political parties’ discussion with each other should overshadow or prevent us from making the necessary decisions,” newswire Ritzau reports. 

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

Schools struggle with light bills…

An association of schools, afterschools, and daycares has appealed to the government for help with astronomical electrical bills, according to a press release.

“We have several schools that are currently paying three times as much as they usually do to heat the premises,” says Peter Bendix Pedersen, chairman of Friskolerne, on behalf of the association.

“One of the consequences of the rising prices is that if a school, a kindergarten or an institution gets such a large bill that they cannot borrow money, they will have to close,” he says.

The association hopes to join the government programme, currently outlined for private citizens, to freeze payments to last year’s level. The remainder of the balance can be paid in instalments over the next several years. 

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries plan to cut your energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter 

…while aquariums and zoos stay afloat.

Kastrup’s aquarium Den Blå Planet reports issues with its towering electricity bills, but Denmark’s other aquariums and zoos believe they can weather the storm. 

“It will not threaten our existence, but it is certainly something we would have liked to do without,” Karsten Bjerrum Nielsen, director of the Kattegat center in Grenaa, tells Ritzau. The Kattegat Center has managed to whittle down its dependence on the grid considerably by replacing its pump system and “plastering” the roof with solar cells, he says. 

The Kattegat Center and several other aquariums in Denmark have longstanding fixed-price agreements for some of their consumption — housing animals requires near constant cleaning, heating, and cooling of the water. 

Future care workers and childcare professionals could be paid more to study 

Frederiksen has proposed certain students, including those training to work in health and childcare, should receive salaries earlier in their studies. It’s designed to sweeten the pot for students considering a career in sectors desperate for new workers, Frederiksen explains.

However, representatives from other industries — including the police association and Danish Metal — see the potential measure as interfering with the free job market by singling out these educations among many others hoping to recruit more workers. 

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Social Democrats put election ads in newspapers, ‘free’ electricity this afternoon and other news in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Social Democrats place election ads in newspapers

According to expectations, a general election will be called today by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Suggestions that an announcement will be made have been further backed up by the appearance this morning of election-related ads in Danish newspapers, placed by Frederiksen’s Social Democratic party.

The ads don’t directly confirm a general election, but do explicitly mention it, saying “Reality is about working together. The election is about who can make it happen”.

Major newspapers Jyllands-Posten, Berlingske and Politiken all carry the ad this morning.

READ ALSO: Danish PM strongly hints at general election after opening of parliament

Electricity price could be 0 kroner at 2pm today

The market price of electricity could confound the zeitgeist and fall to 0 kroner for a short period around 2pm this afternoon, according to broadcaster DR.

Data from electricity exchange Nord Pool predicts that electricity will cost nothing this afternoon because of windy weather across Europe. That will result in huge electricity production from both on- and offshore wind turbines.

Combined with solar energy, which doesn’t factor in when electricity prices fall at night but does in the afternoon, this will force the market price of electricity to zero.

Before you connect everything to the grid at 2pm, keep in mind that electricity won’t be completely free to consumers. Transport costs and taxes of around 1.40 kroner still apply, DR notes.

READ ALSO: How people in Denmark are changing their energy use to keep bills down

Parliament to consult on energy relief cheques

A parliamentary committee has been called by energy minister Dan Jørgensen.

The committee will discuss future one-off relief payments similar to the 6,000-kroner “heating cheque” paid directly to around 400,000 eligible homes in Denmark in August, in a measure to help households cope with soaring energy bills.

The payments have been criticised after media reported a significant amount had been sent in error to ineligible homes.

Jørgensen wants to discuss whether a similar model to the energy relief could be used again in future, DR reports.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s state auditor to review potential errors in energy relief payments

Sweden, Denmark and Norway block Nord Stream from examining pipeline

Nord Stream, the company which owns and operates the gas pipeline hit by suspected sabotage last month, has said it cannot examine the pipeline because it has not been given permission by the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian authorities. 

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Nord Stream AG, the company which owns and operates the pipelines, said it had so far been unable to carry out its own inspections. 

“As of today, Nord Stream AG is unable to inspect the damaged sections of the gas pipeline due to the lack of earlier requested necessary permits,” the company, which is 51 percent owned by the Russian gas giant Gazprom, wrote. 

We have more on this story in this article.