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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Covid boosters now available for everyone, the Danish Refugee Council's rebuke of Immigration Services, and escaped trout giving anglers a field day are among the top news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday
Covid boosters are now available to everyone in Denmark, for a modest price. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Covid boosters: available for all starting Tuesday

For months, Denmark showed no signs of offering second boosters (for many, that’s their fourth dose) to people outside risk groups. But as of today, everyone in Denmark is eligible for another Covid jab — for a couple hundred kroner. 

Shots are available from a smattering of general practitioners, private vaccination sites, and 100 pharmacies across Denmark. Some locations require advance appointments while others accept walk-ins — check before you go. 

Recent research into the bivalent boosters being offered, which target two Omicron strains, indicates they provide more robust protection than expected. 

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Danish Refugee Council: Danish Immigration Services contradicts own report on endangering Syrians 

In May, Danish Immigration Services released a report detailing the risks that former refugees returning to Syria face — “authorities who continue to arrest, detain, interrogate, torture, extort and kill Syrian refugees,” broadcaster DR reports. That stands in stark contrast to Denmark’s position that the situation in Syria has improved enough for refugees to be sent home, and according to the Danish Refugee Council, a nonprofit advocacy and humanitarian group, the report is functionally ignored in deciding whether to renew Syrian refugees’ residence permits. 

However, the Refugee Board — a part of the Danish Immigration Services that serves as its appeal body — tells DR they routinely refer to the report in their decisions. The Refugee Board has reversed Immigration Service’s decision to remove Syrian refugees in 49 out of 70 cases that have surfaced between May and September. 

“This means that 21 cases in the Refugee Board will not be overturned despite the report of the Danish Immigration Service and the report from the EU,” says Eva Singer, head of asylum at the Danish Refugee Council. “This corresponds to 30 percent of the cases, and these are refugees who may also be at risk if they are sent back to Syria.” 

“We cannot see how they differ from the others,” Singer adds. 

Denmark is the only EU country pushing to return Syrian refugees. (However, since Denmark doesn’t have a repatriation agreement with Syria, that’s left dozens of refugees in detention centre limbo.) 

READ MORE: Danish agency sent letters about deportation to refugee children 

Danish anglers flock to scoop up escaped trout in the Great Belt 

Over the weekend, a fishing vessel rammed into a breeding facility for rainbow trout, accidentally releasing as many as 70,000 non-native fish into Danish waters. Now, biologists  concerned the escapees might make life tough for native trout applaud anglers taking advantage of the free-for-all, TV2 reports. 

The rainbow trout are likely to swim up nearby streams and could disrupt the spawning of native trout, as well as gobble up the eggs and young fry, a biologist told TV2. 

Anglers looking to fill their dinner table and protect native trout should be sure to catch rainbow trout exclusively — preferably with fishing line, since nets would scoop up sea trout too. 

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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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