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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Danske Bank pushed to change its mortgage rules, Denmark's royal family auctioning off jewels, and the missile strike in Poland are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Getting approved for a mortgage in Denmark is already hard enough for foreign borrowers, but a government agency is pressuring Danske Bank to make sure applicants have even more money in the bank. Photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

Danske Bank must require more money in the bank from mortgage applicants 

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has once again admonished Danske Bank, the country’s largest bank, for being too permissive in granting loans, newswire Ritzau reports. 

The Authority reviewed 78 home loans issued by Danske Bank and found that “in some cases, the bank had granted home loans to customers with negative assets, zero assets or slightly positive assets,” a press release said, pointing to frequent “miscalculations” as to the applicant’s available funds as the culprit. 


Denmark: deaths in Poland ‘Russia’s fault’ no matter who fired missile 

On Tuesday evening, amid a heavy battery of Ukraine by Russian forces, a missile fell about six kilometers into Polish territory, killing two. 

After initial reports suggested the missile was fired by the Russians, NATO and Polish officials say it appears it was actually launched by Ukrainian forces attempting to explode Russian missiles mid-air. 

Jeppe Kofod and Morten Bødskov, Denmark’s acting ministers of foreign affairs and defense, respectively, agree that Russia is to blame for any casualties as a result of the blast. 

“It is clear that the Ukrainians have both a right and a duty to defend themselves” from Russian missiles, Kofod says. “If Russia had not attacked Ukraine with 100 missiles, we would not have had such a dangerous situation in Europe.” 

“Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is the cause of the terrible incident that happened in Poland and which cost two people their lives,” Bødskov adds. 

READ MORE: ‘Over a quarter’ of Ukrainian refugees in Denmark now working 

Danish royal family auctions jewels, sapphire crown

The Danish royals are offering jewels owned by past queens and princesses of Denmark for sale through auction house Bruun Rasmussen. 

They’re not the crown jewels — the four sets of jewelry displayed at Rosenborg and Amalienborg castles that are technically owned by the state of Denmark — but there is a jeweled crown. 

The star of the auction will be Princess Thyra’s sapphire-studded tiara, which is expected to fetch between 600,000 and 800,000 kroner. (The sapphires on Thyra’s diadem can be swapped for turquoise cabochons, should you want to dress it down.) Also on offer are mourning medallions (one comes with a lock of hair!), Queen Alexandrine’s Art Deco emerald bracelet, and other storied treasures. 

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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.