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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Food recalled due to a deadly listeria outbreak, the Greater Copenhagen area finally free of a boil water advisory, and a plea from authorities to keep conserving energy are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Fiskefrikadeller, a Danish fishcake favorite seen here in this file photo, are the source of a listeria outbreak that has sickened six and killed one. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

Deadly listeria outbreak: fish cakes from Denmark’s major grocery chains recalled 

Fish cakes (Fiskefrikadeller) sold at many major grocery chains — Netto, Fakta, Irma, SuperBrugsen, Dagli’Brugsen, and Coop 365 — have been recalled due to contamination with  listeria bacteria. The State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency, has registered seven patients sickened by the outbreak, including one person who died. 

The recalled fish cakes were sold under the brand names Havet’s and Løgismose, with expiration dates between September 6 and December 6 this year. Health officials say it’s important to throw away any potentially contaminated products. 

Danish authorities: keep conserving energy despite lower prices 

The price of a kilowatt of energy in Denmark plummeted from an average of 3.5 kroner in August to 1 krone in October, broadcaster DR reports. But authorities say it’s important to continue being judicious with your electricity use since this is likely a temporary reprieve. 

An unusually mild autumn has kept demand low, while favourable winds have bolstered wind energy production.

“Unfortunately, we probably cannot expect electricity prices to continue to fall,” Kristian Rune Poulsen of interest organisation Green Power Denmark told DR. “It is probably a temporary situation that we have a significant surplus of gas and thus relatively low electricity prices.” 

READ MORE: When should I turn on my heating in Denmark this winter

Consumer prices up 10 percent in Denmark 

Data from Statistics Denmark show that consumer prices in October 2022 were 10.1 percent higher than the same period in 2021. It’s the steepest increase observed since 1982, according to newswire Ritzau. 

This is “terrible” news, Jeppe Juuul Borre, chief economist at Arbejdernes Landsbank, tells Ritzau. “We had clearly hoped for a decrease and an easing of inflation in today’s figures. The sharp price increases are gnawing their way through Danes’ household budgets at the highest rate in 40 years,” he wrote in a comment. 

Boil water advisory ends for Greater Copenhagen municipality 

Water from the tap in Herlev is again safe for consumption after E. coli samples in drinking water triggered a boil water advisory nearly two weeks long, according to an announcement from the municipal government. 

Herlev hospital was the final area to be given the all-clear. Once your household is released from a boil water advisory, officials say it’s important to let every faucet or shower in your house run cold water for 10 minutes to flush the system. 

READ MORE: Why there might soon be a little less calcium in Copenhagen’s water 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Falling unemployment, the Danish government refusing to accept debt payments from citizens, and plans for a fully swimmable Copenhagen harbour are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

Having a debt to the Danish public sector on your books can have serious financial consequences, including jeopardizing your eligibility to secure a mortgage. But from January to October 2022, 138,000 Danes trying to square their debts with the government were refused due to confusion about whether the Danish Debt Collection Agency actually has the right to receive it, newspaper Berlingske reports.

Data from the agency indicate the number of debts considered “not ready for recovery” has leapt 1.5 million this year alone. Half of those debts are connected to Danish tax agency, Skat. 

According to Berlingske, the issues with ‘unpayable’ debts arose in 2015 when EFI, the IT system Skat used to collect debt, was shuttered. 

Based on the scale of the problem, the government will have to consider cancelling some of the debts, Peter Bjerre Mortensen, professor of public administration at Aarhus University, tells Berlingske. 

“They need to swallow some very big camels and/or simplify some legislation or forgive some debts, because right now it seems that things are still going the wrong way,” Mortensen says. 

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket? 

Politicians push for ‘fully swimmable’ Copenhagen harbour 

Currently, swimming in Copenhagen’s harbours is only allowed at 11 designated bathing zones — though that doesn’t deter the estimated 200,000 people who take a dip elsewhere in the harbour yearly, risking fines. Now, Copenhagen mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen and other local politicians hope to flip the system on its head, making the vast majority of the harbour swimmable with a few ‘no-go’ zones. 

City officials plan to mark certain areas — for instance, near wastewater outlets or sailboat traffic — with ‘no swimming’ signs. 

READ MORE: Why the shocking cold of winter bathing is a Nordic favourite 

Unemployment continues to fall in Denmark 

October marked another record-breaking low for unemployment in Denmark, according to data from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment and the Danish Chamber of Commerce. 

Just 11,519 full-time workers were experiencing ‘long-term unemployment’ (meaning they had been unemployed for at least 80 percent of the previous year) in October. That’s down from 12,400 in September, which was the lowest figure in 26 years, according to newswire Ritzau. 

In March 2020, there were 22,000 long-term unemployment benefit recipients, which spiked to 40,000 in April 2021. 

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