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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Whether primary school students should be 'redistributed,' a Facebook group where priests spill parishioners' secrets, and climate compensation for poor countries are among the top news stories in Denmark this Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
A new 13 kroner tax on plane tickets could help fund a transition to green air travel. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

No more plans to ‘redistribute’ Danish primary school students 

The Ministry of Children and Education has abandoned plans to redistribute Denmark’s primary school students to ensure a more “mixed” learning environment, officials tell newspaper Berlingske

Beginning next fall, secondary school pupils may be assigned a different school based on their parents’ salaries. 

READ MORE: Why Denmark has changed rules for upper secondary school allocation

Danish priests spill parishioners’ secrets in Facebook group 

The Danish Data Protection Authority has launched an investigation into a closed Facebook group in which priests from the Church of Denmark appear to have shared private details of their parishioners’ lives for more than a decade. 

The group is composed of 1,300 members, while about 2,000 priests are employed by the Church of Denmark. According to an investigation by TV2 journalists, who they say were easily admitted to the closed group despite not being priests, discussions included individually identifiable information about families’ most personal secrets — including allegations of incest, extramarital children, and children’s medical diagnoses. 

Danish law requires priests in the Church of Denmark to abide by strict confidentiality rules. 

Denmark will pay poor countries affected by climate change 

Denmark has earmarked at least 50 million kroner to go to ‘poor’ countries bearing the brunt of climate change, Danish development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen has announced. 

Humanitarian aid organisation DanChurchAid sees the move as a tremendous step forward. 
“It is a historic and wonderful initiative,” says secretary general Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen. “Climate-related losses and damages have been a topic of debate since 1992, but until now no other rich country has announced any concrete support to tackle losses and damages.” 

The money will come from a pool of 100 million kroner budgeted this year for climate compensation and climate adaptation in poor countries, Ritzau reports. The Sahel, a semi-arid region of Africa, will be a primary target for the aid. 

READ MORE: What’s in Denmark’s 2023 budget? 

Government proposes flight tax to make air travel greener 

The Danish government hopes to introduce a 13 kroner tax on all plane tickets, both domestic and international, departing in Denmark. Officials estimate the tax would generate 200-230 million kroner annually that could be put towards prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s goal of all-green domestic flights in Denmark by 2030. 

Denmark is late to the party taxing air travel, according to Ritzau — neighbors Norway, Sweden, and Germany have already imposed taxes at a rather higher level. 

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For members


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.