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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

An official cap on rent increases, more energy help on the way, and the farewell to daylight are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday
Judging by the foliage in Dyrehaven, fall has officially arrived in Denmark. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Autumnal equinox is upon us 

Say farvel (that’s Danish for goodbye) to daylight for the foreseeable future — today is the autumnal equinox, when day and night are equal lengths. Break out your hygge gear, since it’s only darker days from here on out. 

The longest night of the year will fall on December 21st, the winter solstice, when we can expect 17 hours of darkness. 

READ MORE: How hygge is misunderstood in English

Cap on rent increase comes into effect

Parliament recently passed a measure to cap yearly rent increases at four percent for the next two years. The temporary limit took effect on Thursday and is welcome news to Danish renters, who could otherwise face stinging rent hikes.

Normally, Danish law allows landlords to up the rent they charge in line with inflation, but with inflation way above normal levels — 8.9 percent in August, according to recent data — this risks pricing about 160,000 Danish tenants out of their homes, according to the housing ministry.

Still, a 4 percent rent hike is nothing to sneeze at — for the average 2-3 bedroom apartment in Copenhagen, monthly rent could increase about 560 kroner (if landlords choose to raise it by the maximum permitted amount), not to mention the ballooning cost of energy. 

EXPLAINED: What’s causing the highest inflation rate in Denmark for almost 40 years?

More winter energy aid on the horizon 

Danish parliament has agreed to provide additional help to people struggling with energy costs, according to newswire Ritzau. However, some of the measures won’t kick in until the new year. 

A draft of the agreement previewed Thursday by broadcaster DR includes lowering the electricity tax from 69.7 øre per kilowatt-hour to 0.8 øre in 2023, according to DR. (An øre, literally translating to ‘ear,’ is a kroner-cent.) 

Additionally, the child cheque sent to families in January 2023 would be temporarily increased by 660 kroner. 

More money will also be set aside to help expand district heating and substitute gas boilers with more efficient forms of heating. 

The agreement would formalise the installment scheme, which would allow private citizens and some companies to pay back their energy bills over five years without interest. 

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

No chance of a carbon-neutral Copenhagen by 2025, an official heat cheque investigation, and more flexibility for Ukrainian refugees are among the top news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Copenhagen won’t be carbon neutral by 2025 

Since 2009, Copenhagen has been vocal about plans to become the first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025. But after an incineration plant has thrown in the towel on an attempt to reduce its emissions, that lofty goal is off the table, broadcaster DR reports.

“It’s a shame we won’t reach it by 2025. I’m really sorry about that,” mayor of Copenhagen Sophie Hæstorp Andersen told DR. “But that’s not the same as saying we won’t make it in 2026, 2027, or 2028. That’s why we still have hope that we will succeed.” 

According to Andersen, Copenhagen has already slashed CO2 emissions by 80 percent. 

Minister agrees to investigate mistaken heat cheques 

Bowing to pressure from support parties, Climate, Energy and Supply minister Dan Jørgensen as ordered an investigation into how many people were mistakenly sent heat cheques. 

The 6,000 kroner cheques were intended to offset skyrocketing energy costs for households heated by gas ahead of winter. But due to inaccuracies in an online database that requires homeowners to self-report information on their home, including gas boilers, many people are believed to have received the cheques in error. 

The legislation approving the cheques explicitly stated that households that received the cheques despite not being eligible wouldn’t be required to return the money. But critics — among them some who received the money in error and have tried to return it — see a needless waste of tax kroner. 

READ MORE: Danish parties urge investigation of heating cash sent to ineligible homes 

SF wants to welcome more Ukrainian refugees 

The Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, SF)  is pushing for more flexibility on the ‘cut-off date’ for Ukrainian refugees to be eligible to live in Denmark, newswire Ritzau reports. 

Currently, people who left Ukraine before February 1st can’t apply to be refugees under Danish law. According to data from the Danish Immigration Service, 278 Ukrainians have been turned away because they left their home country earlier. 

Carl Valentin, the Socialist People’s Party’s immigration commissioner, notes that the government originally planned to receive as many as 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. 

“That many have not come. And with a number like this, we should just be able to look at getting some more flexibility in the law,” Valentin told Ritzau. 

To date, about 27,000 Ukrainians have gotten refugee status in Denmark. 

READ MORE: Number of Ukrainian refugees working in Denmark triples in one month