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WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in November 2022?

A new government, MitID needed for online banking, the extension of border controls with Sweden and Germany and Christmas light switch-ons. Here are some of the things you can expect to see in Denmark in November.

Christmas lights in Aalborg
Christmas lights near Budolfi Cathedral in Aalborg, 2020. Christmas lights across Denmark will not be turned on all day this year, due to the energy crisis. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark forms a new government

Denmark’s parliamentary election takes place on November 1st and Denmark could find itself with a new Prime Minister.

The election decides the distribution of parliament’s 179 seats or mandates, mandater. Therefore, one of the two blocs can seal an overall election victory if it claims 90 or more mandates, giving it a majority. The ‘bloc’ classification, commonly referred to in Danish politics, broadly denotes whether a party or group of parties is on the right or left of centre.

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

Mette Frederiksen will continue as Prime Minister if she has a majority of Denmark’s 179 MPs behind her – her own party along with allied parties.

Otherwise, a new prime minister must be found. This is done through a process known as a dronningerunde (literally a ‘Queen’s round’). Here, the leader of each party has an audience with the Queen. After this, the Queen nominates a person to lead the new government or lead negotiations to form it.

READ MORE: The Danish vocabulary you’ll need to follow the election

Leader of the Conservatives, Søren Pape Poulsen, Liberal leader, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of the newly formed Moderates, are all contenders to become PM instead of Mette Frederiksen, although Rasmussen has not officially declared himself as a candidate.

Because the outcome is likely to be close, projected negotiations could take place before a new government — and possible change of Prime Minister — is announced.

Once a new prime minister and government agreed, they are formally nominated by the Queen at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen before emerging and facing the public on the palace square.

READ MORE: Three candidates for PM in Denmark, and one wild card

Delayed payment of energy bills begins

A scheme to delay payment of excess energy bills begins on November 1st. It is one of the components of the government’s winter package in response to record energy prices.

The deal will allow energy bills exceeding 2021 prices to be paid at a delayed time and in instalments. The additional cost of the bill, not the entire bill, will be eligible for delayed payment. The option will be available to both businesses and individuals.

The model is voluntary, meaning bill payers choose whether to freeze payments. The government are footing the bill with energy companies in the intervening period. Customers need to contact energy companies to set up the repayment plan. Denmark’s largest energy company, Andel Energi has announced its digital registration for the scheme.

As a result of supply stoppages for Russian gas, on top of inflation, energy prices in Denmark are expected to be high throughout the winter.

The government has also announced it will set electricity tax close to zero and increase welfare payments for families.

READ MORE: Denmark announces new winter aid package for households

Border controls at Sweden and German borders extend into November

One of the last decisions made by the outgoing Swedish government was to inform the EU Commission that Sweden’s border controls on the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark will be extended in November.

Sweden’s border controls have been renewed the same way, every six months, since November 2015.

However Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has called for the temporary border controls to be “made permanent”, a move which would contradict EU law.

“The more we reduce the problem of cross-border crime, the more open we can be to surrounding countries. But as it is now, we have big problems which need to be brought under control, both at the border and within Sweden,” Kristersson said

READ MORE: Denmark confirms latest extension of checks at German border

Denmark has meanwhile decided to extend the checks carried out by Danish police on the border with Germany, by another six months.

The border control is technically temporary but has been in place since January 2016. The latest extension begins on the 12th November and will take the checks into an eighth year.

Under the rules of the Schengen agreement, countries can place temporary border controls under exceptional circumstances. After a six-month period, the temporary checks must be renewed.

No more NemID for online banking

NemID will be officially turned off for secure platforms like banking and public services on November 1st. After this, only the new system, MitID can be used to log on.

Other platforms, like online shopping, will still accept NemID for now. The old system will be fully decommissioned on June 30th, 2023. 

READ ALSO: 

Daylight hours shorten

The clock change at the end of October means we are officially into the dark season. On the 1st November, day light hours come in at 9 hours and 10 minutes. This decreases for the rest of the month by 1 hour and 45 minutes.

However temperatures aren’t set to drop massively.

“We see the winter as being warmer than usual,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service that produces seasonal forecasts for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Christmas is coming….but with fewer twinkles

The first Sunday in Advent is on November 27th this year. This is the date the Christmas lights will be switched on in the centre of Copenhagen — two weeks later than in 2021. Due to the energy crisis, the lights will be switched on between 3pm and 9pm rather than the usual 7am until midnight.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen to retain but reduce Christmas lights amid energy crisis

In Aarhus, the Christmas parade and light switch on will happen on 11th November but the lights will only be switched on for seven hours a day, compared to 16 hours in previous years.

In Odense, the city has chosen to wait a week to switch on the Christmas lights on 19th November. The lights will also be on for fewer hours than usual.

Salling Group has announced that its shopping centres in Aalborg and Aarhus will not be putting up their usual Christmas light decorations, and the same decision has been made by Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen.

Middelfart, Esbjerg and Aarhus have all decided against opening their traditional outdoor ice rinks this winter as a result of high energy prices.

But the Christmas markets (julemarkeder), complete with the winter-warm alcoholic drink gløgg, will all still be going ahead, with many opening at the end of November. Tivoli’s Christmas season opens on November 19th.

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WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

Key law changes in Denmark in 2023 that you need to know about

Several new laws and rule changes are expected to enter into force or go through consideration in Denmark next year. The Local has compiled a list of the most important ones.

Key law changes in Denmark in 2023 that you need to know about

In 2023, there will be a number of significant changes to the rules and laws in Denmark that will affect multiple aspects of life in the country, including costs of living, the job market, welfare, travel, and immigration – to mention just a few.

The new government’s plan to relax access to foreign labour in Denmark for as long as unemployment is low and its inflation package – aimed at helping Danes cope with the rising living costs – are just some measures that will likely materialise in the year ahead.

In this article, we will go over these, and other, key changes expected to occur next year.

Making Denmark more accessible for skilled foreign workers

A new government policy may make it easier for skilled foreign workers to come to Denmark in 2023 by providing more options for obtaining a work permit.

The policy agreement between the three coalition parties in the new government states it will “relax access to foreign labour for as long as unemployment is low.”

This means making an existing deal to boost international recruitment permanent and taking measures to prevent social dumping, so foreign workers are given the same working conditions as Danes, the proposal states.

“In addition to this, the government will introduce a scheme with lower pay limits (beløbsordninger, ed.) for certified companies which are encompassed by controlled wage and working conditions,” it says.

An annual quota of work permits will be released under the scheme, which will be reviewed every two years, according to the plan.

“This will, under controlled conditions, give access to additional labour,” according to the policy proposal.

Streamlined family reunification?

The new Danish government could ease family reunification rules in 2023 – a break from the restrictive immigration policy seen in previous years.

Specifically, the new government plans to change language criteria applied in the family reunification process, as well as halve the so-called “bank guarantee” (bankgaranti).

This guarantee requirement demands couples deposit a substantial sum of money with municipalities. At the same time, the foreign partner is granted residence under family reunification rules.

You can find more information on these plans here.

Support measures aimed at addressing cost of living crisis

The new government plans to put forward an “inflation package” of support measures aimed at helping Danes struggling with high living costs caused by the inflation crisis.

The package is expected to include a new tax-free 5,000 kroner payment to senior citizens who receive the ældrecheck benefit – on top of the already-agreed 5,000 kroner.

The rest of the support package will focus on people who face drastic energy bill increases, mainly homes with independent gas heaters.
Furthermore, an allocation of 300 million kroner will also be set aside to help vulnerable families.

These measures were outlined in the policy agreement between the three coalition parties.

Deferred district heating bills

Starting in January, a new program will be implemented, allowing Danish businesses and households to postpone paying excess district heating bills.

The scheme is part of the previous government’s winter package aimed at addressing the record energy prices. In November, a scheme was introduced to allow people to delay payments for excess electricity and gas bills.

That means households and businesses can “freeze” their bill for 12 months at the same price they paid for the same amount of heating last year.

However, only the additional cost of the bill, not the entire bill, will be eligible for postponed payment.

When the 12-month period expires, an interest-free year will follow. Customers will then be able to choose whether to pay the excess amount to the energy company or pay it off over four years.

Important EU travel changes

Travellers should be aware of two travel-related updates within the European Union (EU) for next year.

Firstly, Schengen Area countries will begin implementing a new digital system (EES) to track the entry and exit of non-EU citizens at their borders starting in May 2023.

Additionally, the EU has introduced a COVID-19 certificate that may be required for travel in the region.

The EES system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The system will register the person’s name, type of travel document, biometric data, and the date and place of entry and exit.

This data will be kept in a centralised database on a rolling three-year basis that is re-set at each entry.

For people living in Denmark as non-EU citizens, it’s worth knowing that the European Commission has confirmed that EES will not apply to non-EU citizens who live in Denmark.

Education reform

The government plans to invest more funding in vocational education programs and shorten around half of university Master’s degree programs to be completed in one year instead of two.

Furthermore, the eligibility requirements for the state student grant (SU) will be stricter, with the grant being available for a shorter time in relation to the length of education.

You can find more information on the main policies of the new Danish government here.

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