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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

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.

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

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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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

A Danish school evacuated due to a sickening smell, Nigeria prosecuting Danish soldiers in piracy case, and a ringing endorsement for fourth Covid-19 jabs are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

‘Unpleasant smell’ that sickened children at Danish school is unexplained 

 An Aarhus-area school was evacuated on Thursday after a mysterious smell appeared to be related to new headaches, coughs, and runny noses in students and teachers, newswire Ritzau reports. 

Suspecting some kind of chemical spill, school management reached out to emergency services — but police, the fire brigade and emergency medical responders were unable to identify the cause, according to a tweet by the East Jutland Police. 

However, authorities were able to rule out a chemical spill, police tell broadcaster TV2, and the investigation is ongoing. 

ICYMI: Recent Covid-19 booster jab offers good protection, Danish agency says 

People who received the most recent round of Covid-19 boosters are at significantly lower risk for hospitalisation, according to a recent analysis by the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency. 

Having a second booster (for most, that would be your fourth dose) provides “around 75 percent better” protection against hospital admission than just three doses, writes Bolette Søborg, senior medical consultant at the SSI, on the agency’s website. 

READ ALSO: Can you get a second Covid-19 booster in Denmark if you are not in a risk group? 

Nigeria to prosecute Danish soldiers involved in piracy case 

This week, Copenhagen District Court began to hear the case against a Nigerian man authorities say is a pirate who participated in an attack on a Danish vessel off the coast of Nigeria in November 2021. 

But now, Nigeria has announced its intention to prosecute the Danish soldiers involved in the same incident, in which four Nigerian nationals were killed. 

“We demand that Denmark release the remaining Nigerian in Danish custody. We demand an apology from Denmark to Nigeria for the behavior of the frigate,” says Nicholas Ella, director of the legal department in Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign affairs, according to newspaper Weekendavisen.  

Ella describes the firefight as the “direct murder of people on the boat,” Weekendavisen reports.

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