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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Shorter Master's' degrees, sanctions against Russia, and deficiencies in the Danish Armed Forces are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Defence minister Morten Bødskov says billions are needed to rid the Danish Armed Forces of mold and out-of-date technology. Photo: Martin Sylvest/ Ritzau Scanpix 2022

Denmark plans to shorten Master’s degrees to save money 

Next week, the government will present a plan to cut costs for some Master’s degree programmes by lopping off the second and final year, newspaper Politiken reports. But both labour unions and industry representatives worry it risks turning out under-prepared graduates. 

The changes would affect half of all master’s students in Denmark, according to Politiken, and 70 percent of students in humanities and social sciences.The intent is to funnel the savings into “medium-term professional courses” including nursing, teaching, and social work.

“We are very concerned that university education will be degraded,” says Sara Vergo, chairman of the trade union Djøf, which represents students and workers in “social sciences, business and law.”  

READ MORE: How to save money as a student in Denmark

Denmark pushes for more sanctions against Russia 

Foreign minister Jeppe Kofod says he and his EU counterparts from other countries have agreed to further ramp up sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. 

Likely targets are tightening restrictions against Russian oligarchs and imposing sanctions on Russian exports that are vital to the economy and military industry, Kofod tells newswire Ritzau. 

“These are sanctions that hit Putin’s regime and the people around him,” he added. 

The European Commission’s foreign affairs chief told Reuters that the new sanctions will be designed to target “more relevant sectors of the Russian economy and continue to target individuals responsible for the war of aggression against Ukraine.” 

The EU’s foreign ministers will convene again in mid-October to finalise the new sanctions package. 

READ MORE: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter 

Tire-kicking reveals deficiencies in Danish Armed Forces 

On Wednesday, defence minister Morten Bødskov outlined the results of an investigation into the facilities and equipment of the Danish Armed Forces — and both have been found lacking. 

“We need billions of investment just to continue the current defence,” Bødskov said at a press conference. 

A correspondent for broadcaster DR wrote that the audit confirms what many in defence have reported for years — mouldy barracks and “hopelessly old IT equipment.” 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday

Overnight outage for e-Boks system continues and kindergartens to be tested for PFAS are among the news in Denmark on Friday morning.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday

Denmark’s e-Boks digital mail system still down on Friday morning

People in Denmark were still unable to log in to the e-Boks system on Friday morning, more than 12 hours after problems began shortly before 7pm on Thursday evening. 

“We are currently experiencing problems logging into e-Boks both via app and web. We are working hard to resolve the problem and apologise for the inconvenience,” the system said on its website.

E-Boks allows Danish residents to receive digital mail from the government and other public sector organisations.

Danish vocabulary: vi beklager ulejligheden – we apologise for the inconvenience

Major spending plan to fight social dumping 

A majority of parties have agreed a 1.3 billion kroner spending plan that is designed to tackle social dumping and other problem areas at workplaces.

The deal, termed a “working environment agreement” (arbejdsmiljøaftale), specifies social dumping as a major area of focus.

“This is an agreement of historic level. I am happy that everyone is part of it,” employment minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said following the conclusion of negotiations on Thursday.

Social dumping is the practice by which foreign workers are used to circumvent Danish collective bargaining agreements, saving employers money by hiring staff on wages and working conditions inferior to those set by the Danish labour model.

Some 673 million kroner of the total 1.3 billion are earmarked for prevention of social dumping.

“This is an anti social dumping effort that acts against labour crime and cheating the system. So that people who actually play by the rules get fair competition,” Halsboe-Jørgensen said.

Denmark to test 10 kindergartens and playgrounds for ‘forever chemical’ PFAS

Ten kindergartens and public playgrounds in the South Denmark region are to be tested for the pollutant chemical PFAS.

Five kindergartens and public playgrounds on Funen and five kindergartens and public playgrounds in Southern Jutland are to be tested for presence of the chemical, the South Denmark regional health authority said in a statement on Thursday.

The locations are to be tested because the authority does not know with certainty that they are not contaminated with PFAS, the health authority said.

“I want to stress that the Region does not expect in advance that PFAS chemicals will be found in the ground in amounts that can constitute a risk to children,” Poul Erik Jensen, head of the Region’s environment board, said in the statement.

Danish vocabulary: at understrege – to stress

Danish agency received 14 reports of drones after Nord Stream explosions

Denmark’s Energy Agency received 16 reports of drone and ship activity at energy facilities on or under the sea in the weeks after the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines.

The information on the reports was revealed by newspaper Børsen based on an access to information request with the Energy Agency.

Drone sightings accounted for 14 of the 16 reports with the remaining two relating to ships. In the corresponding period in 2021, the agency received zero reports.

It is impossible to say whether the apparent spike in sightings represents increased activity or increased alert in the area, according to an expert.

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