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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

A possible new (but also old) name in the running for prime minister, Danish island brings in social care staff from Europe, and other news from Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Denmark's three PM hopefuls at a television debate on Sunday. Photo. Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Election: Commentators write off one PM candidate – but put another on the list

Last night saw the latest television debate between the three party leaders hoping to be elected Danish prime minister on November 1st. Several newspapers this morning write in their political opinion columns that one of the three, Conservative party leader Søren Pape Poulsen, is now a rank outsider.

Poulsen has seen excellent polling numbers earlier this year fall away sharply, putting him well behind the other ‘blue bloc’ candidate, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, as the most likely candidate to oust sitting PM Mette Frederiksen.

READ ALSO: ‘Bloc politics’: A guide to understanding parliamentary elections in Denmark

Another figure is increasingly being spoken about as a dark horse in the race: Frederiksen’s predecessor Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who is leading his newly-formed party the Moderates into their first election.

The Moderates are edging upwards in the polls and Rasmussen has placed himself in what could be a very expedient position for negotiations once votes are cast, experts say.

Rasmussen has denied his ambition is to get his old job back.

We’ll have more detail on these election developments in an article today.

READ ALSO: Who are Denmark’s 13 political parties and what election pledges have they made?

Danish island hires social care workers from EU countries due to shortage

The municipal government on southern island Lolland has taken to hiring staff from Spain, Italy and Hungary to address a major shortage of social care staff, broadcaster DR reports.

The last six months has seen more than 15,000 available positions in the social care or SOSU sector go unfilled, according to government figures reported by DR.

Lolland said it was short of 90 personnel and had now begun the process of hiring staff from the EU.

“16 have said ‘yes’, and they have begun an intensive language course online. That means they are now sitting at home acquiring the basic language skills,” Lolland’s mayor Holger Schou Rasmussen told DR.

They will later study in Denmark and will be ready to join the Danish labour market in March, according to the plan.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark’s election result affect work permit and citizenship rules?

Companies’ overheads in small decrease

This year has seen operating costs for companies go through the roof, primarily because of inflation and the increasing price of energy.

Some positive news on this front comes from Statistics Denmark today, which reports a 1.9 percent decrease in the cost of raw materials for Danish companies in September compared to August.

This is the first time costs have gone down in over six months and is a tentative suggestion that businesses have seen the worst of inflation, an analyst said.

“It gives some hope that inflation will peak in the near future,” economist Jeppe Buul Borre of Arbejdernes Landsbank told news wire Ritzau.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Danish teens cycling drunk and losing control, the party hoping to decriminalise drugs, and teen cannabis dealers in Christiania are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

One in three Danish teens bike so drunk they lose control 

Nearly thirty percent of Danish teens age 16-19 admit to riding their bike “even if they were so drunk that they had difficulty steering,”  according to research by the Danish Road Safety Council (Rådet for Sikker Trafik) and reported by newswire Ritzau. 

“We are well aware that we cannot get all young people to stop cycling after drinking alcohol. But we want to stop those who are most drunk,” Morten Wehner of the Danish Road Safety Council wrote in a press release. 

Doctors at Rigshospitalet, Denmark’s largest hospital, say they’re woefully familiar with the dangers cycling drunk poses to young people. 

“They risk serious injuries, such as skull fractures or bleeding in the brain, which can cost them their health or, in the worst case, their lives,” Emily Øberg, a trauma manager at Rigshospitalet, wrote. “They can have internal bleeding, which can also be life-threatening and require emergency surgery.” 

READ MORE: ‘The Vikings also wore helmets’: Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad

Young cannabis dealers in Christiania worry residents 

Residents of Christiania, the autonomous commune in downtown Copenhagen, say they’re as alarmed as police are to see teenage drug dealers on their streets — but insist it can’t fall to members of the public in Christiania to police their neighbours. 

Between September 1st to November 21st alone, 17 minors were charged with selling euphoric drugs in Christiania, newspaper Berlingske reports. 

“Previously, Christianites would have intervened and shouted at them, but now we can see that 15-16-year-olds are behind the stalls, without anything happening,” Copenhagen police inspector Tommy Laursen told Berlingske. 

Hulda Mader, a Christiania spokesperson, says responsibility falls squarely on Copenhagen police — “the intensive efforts made by the police last year [to increase criminalisation of cannabis, ed.]  have meant that the cannabis market has gone from bad to worse,” she said to Berlingske. 

As Mader describes it, “more humane and decent pushers” have been supplanted by gangs. “It is a societal problem and not a Christiania problem.” 

“I don’t know what other neighbourhoods in the country ask people to go out and try to make sure that crime doesn’t happen. You don’t do that,” Mader added. 

Moderates push to decriminalise drugs for personal use

Centrist party the Moderates (Moderaterne) have announced a desire to decriminalise drugs for personal use and refocus police efforts on dealers, Berlingske reports.

 “Criminalisation is stigmatisation, which means that the stigmatised go under society’s radar and do not seek help,” Moderate member of parliament Nanna Gotfredsen told Berlingske. “This entails the risk of all kinds of diseases, amputations of arms and legs, overdoses and so on.” 

Under Danish law, drug use is not directly criminal, but it is a crime to possess drugs, regardless of whether it is for personal use or because you intend to sell them to others, Ritzau writes.

READ MORE: Five laws foreigners in Denmark are bound to break 

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