Today in Denmark For Members

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Elizabeth Anne Brown
Elizabeth Anne Brown - [email protected]
Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Now that a CO2 tax on Danish agriculture seems likely, industry representatives want a seat at the negotiation table. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Under-strain emergency departments turn patients away, what the Liberal party wants from government negotiations, and a carbon tax for Danish agriculture are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.


Danish emergency departments turn patients away 

Emergency departments at two hospitals in Zealand have become so overwhelmed they've needed to reroute patients to other hospitals for hours at a time, broadcaster DR reports.

On both November 14th and November 21st, people arriving with emergencies to Nykøbing Falster Hospital were diverted to other emergency departments — some up to 100 kilometres away. This happens when an emergency department and its associated hospital is so overcrowded management decides to take a 'time out' (yes, the term is in English). During a 'time out,' exceptions are made for patients with life-threatening illness or who were in a serious accident, DR says. 


Holbæk Hospital had either two or three 'time outs' in August alone and has seen about one a month since, the report adds. 

Region Zealand puts the 'time outs' down to a long-running increase in emergency department patients and a lack of staff. But officials from the Region admit hospitals don't actively track their 'time outs,' the duration, and the number of patients they divert. 

READ MORE: Lack of staff 'biggest challenge' for Danish health authorities 

What the Liberal Party wants from government negotiations 

After a poor showing in the last parliamentary election, the Liberal party (Venstre) has warmed to the idea of joining a 'broad, central government' helmed by Mette Frederiksen. And with the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedlisten), one of the parties that gave Frederiksen's red bloc a slim parliamentary majority, out of negotiations, the pressure is on to find an agreement. But what does the Liberal Party want? 

One priority for the Liberal Party is reforming labour supply and taxes — particularly changing the limit for the top tax bracket (topskat), according to newswire Ritzau. The Liberal party wants to raise the limit so fewer Danes pay the highest tax rate, which currently applies on money earned after the first 600,543 kroner a year. 

"Is there the will to reform that is needed if we are to future-proof our society?" asks Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, leader of the Liberal party. 

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

Danish agricultural sector increasingly resigned to possible carbon tax 

After years of firm opposition to any carbon tax on agriculture, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer) is changing tact after seeing which way the winds blow politically, newspaper Berlingske reports. 

While chairman Søren Søndergaard still believes it's a bad idea, "we can see that the parties that are close to the [current negotiations to form a government] all want a CO2 tax on agriculture," he tells Berlingske. Now the Danish Agriculture & Food Council wants a seat at the table when those rules are set. 


They're hoping to keep reduction targets at 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, a figure set in 2021, while politicians are likely to push for a more ambitious schedule. Other items on their wishlist are incentives for farmers and companies and a promise that funds collected from a CO2 tax will be reinvested in the food industry. 

"You can argue against a tax but you will not be right," Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Danish Agriculture & Food Council representative earlier this month. "It will happen, because there is a majority behind it." 


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