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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Defence minister Morten Bødskov says billions are needed to rid the Danish Armed Forces of mold and out-of-date technology.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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For members


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

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.