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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Icy road conditions, flight cancellations due to a new strike, and a glimmer of hope for Fredericksen's 'broad government' are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
It's a snowy, sleety morning in Denmark, with all the traffic delays the season brings. (Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix)

Snowy Monday morning ahead of a milder week 

Much of the country has woken up to a snowy tableau that may disrupt your morning commute. But it’s not to last, according to forecasts by the Danish Meteorological Institute. 

Be mindful of icy roads and be prepared for delays due to possible bus outages and salt trucks struggling to keep up, the DMI says. 

Keep an eye out for additional snow or sleet in the morning, but by the afternoon showers are expected to dissipate enough that some areas could see some sun.  

The DMI anticipates temperatures to warm from about 0-4 degrees on Monday to 5-10 degrees by Friday. 

READ ALSO: When is it legal to walk on frozen lakes in Denmark? 

Frederiksen’s vision for broad government increasingly possible, though talks lag 

Former (and likely future) prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s hopes for a coalition government involving both red and blue bloc parties seem like less of a pipe dream after statements from two party leaders. 

On Saturday, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen — chairman of the Liberal Party (Venstre) — reversed course on his pre-election statements and indicated he’d be open to joining a broad government. Christine Cordsen, political correspondent at broadcaster DR, says the seismic shift in position is a result of a poor election showing for the blue bloc in general. 

“Blue bloc is actually disintegrating. Some believe that it no longer exists at all,” Cordsen said. “In that situation, it might make sense for the Liberals to enter into a government collaboration with the Social Democrats instead of trying to build on a blue bloc that doesn’t really exist.” 

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of the centrist Moderate party, announced Thursday that the Liberals and Social Democrats could form an “excellent basis” for a new government. 

Other parties report frustrations with the length of negotiations and say substantive issues have yet to be discussed. “I am fully aware that a few days have passed since the election was held,” Frederiksen said. “This is the first time in living memory that a broad government has been seriously negotiated. That’s why it will take time.” 

READ MORE: Danish government: Rasmussen backs coalition with traditional rivals

Finnair strike affects CPH 

A cabin crew strike at Finnair has resulted in the cancelation of around 100 flights on Sunday and Monday, according to Swedish news agency TT. 

Several flights departing and arriving in Copenhagen are affected, newswire Ritzau reports. 

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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.