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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Growing support for a new Danish 'nature law,' the EU recycling shakeup, and an update on government negotiations are among the top news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
Protected forests are in short supply in Denmark, but an initiative to rewrite natural protection laws is gaining steam. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Blue parties throw support behind Danish ‘nature law’ initiative 

Protected nature areas make up just 2.3 percent of Denmark’s territory, according to a new report from the Danish Biodiversity Council. Two conservative ‘blue bloc’ parties — the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance — tell newspaper Politiken they’d support a new law to increase that underwhelming percentage. 

During the election campaign, four left-of-centre ‘red bloc’ parties — the Socialist People’s Party, the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), and Alternative — suggested the Danish Biodiversity Council draft a bill to bring Denmark in line with a European Union target of 30 percent protected nature with 10 percent strict protections, newswire Ritzau writes. 

Of the entire European Union, Denmark devotes the second-highest proportion of its territory to agriculture, making carveouts for nature more challenging. 
READ MORE: Here are Denmark’s 15 most beautiful natural areas 

Danish Waste Association: EU commission’s recycling initiatives would give Denmark a boost 

A leaked draft from the EU Commission reveals plans to require a certain percentage of post-consumer plastic in new packaging, Ritzau reports. The Danish Waste Association, which represents municipal and private waste companies, say the policy changes would represent an important step toward a true “circular economy” of plastic. 

“We can collect as much packaging waste as citizens have sorted,” says Danish Waste Association Niels Toftegaard. “But if the supermarkets and packaging manufacturers don’t want to use it in new packaging, or invest in the necessary technology to turn old package into new, we will never get a circular economy.” 

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri), an association representing the interests of Danish businesses and employers, says it expects companies will struggle to find enough high-quality recycled plastic in Denmark and Europe.

The full EU Commission proposal is expected to be presented November 30th. 

READ MORE: Denmark throws away too much plastic, recycling could save millions: report

Poulsen: no movement on ‘broad government’ negotiations

Søren Pape Poulsen, leader of the Conservative party, says Denmark is “neither further from nor closer to a government” across the centre aisle after the party’s most recent negotiation with Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats. 

“Everyone knows that labour market reforms are needed, but so much else is needed. And what should it look like? We all know that health reform is needed, education reforms are needed, and more free choice is needed,” Poulsen told Ritzau. 

“You can’t just sit and design that in an hour and a half, and so of course we talk about what those principles are. And wherever we end up” — referring to whether the Conservatives join the government — “we want to help influence that process,” he said.

READ MORE: What do Danish Liberals want from government negotiations?

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Copenhagen to trial four-day work week, Danske Bank loss after US fines, Copenhagen to offer physiotherapy without referral, and a new sleeper from Copenhagen to Berlin. Here's the day's news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Copenhagen city government to trial four-day work week 

Copenhagen’s city government have voted to trial a four-day week for certain employees from the start of 2024, TV2 has reported

This means that several divisions in the city’s offices will be able to have a shorter work week. Copenhagen’s city government is Denmark’s biggest employer with 45,000 employees. 

“We know that there is a relatively big stress crisis in Denmark and that one of the remedies is to have shorter working and more flexible working times,” said Troels Christian Jakobsen from The Alternative, who proposed the trial.  

Danish vocab: et redskab – a remedy/tool

Danish bank posts loss after US money laundering fine

Danske Bank reported heavy losses for 2022 on Thursday as Denmark’s biggest lender was hit by huge fines in the United States and at home over money laundering.

The bank posted a loss of 5.1 billion Danish kroner ($753 billion) last year.

But it expects to bounce back into the green in 2023 as it forecast a net profit in the range of 15-17 billion kroner for the year.

The bank said 2022 was “an unusual year” with market volatility, soaring inflation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a “deteriorating macroeconomic outlook”.

Danske Bank also set aside nearly 1.8 billion euros in provisions for legal cases related to a money laundering scandal involving its branch in Estonia.

Danish region wants health service physiotherapy without a referral from doctor

Greater Copenhagen says it wants to extend nationally a scheme allowing patients to access physiotherapy through the public health system without a doctor’s referral.

Under current rules, referral from a doctor covers around 40 percent of the cost of physiotherapy treatment.

Patients can go directly to physiotherapists without a doctors’ referral if they pay the full cost of treatment.

The proposed scheme would see physiotherapists make the decision as to whether the patient qualifies for the subsidy.

A trial project in two municipalities in the region, Ballerup and Frederikssund, proved popular with patients and doctors.

Danish vocab: lægehenvisning – a doctor’s referral

New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Plans for a new rail service running from Oslo and stopping in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen before arriving in Hamburg are in the works, Swedish state-owned rail operator SJ has said.

Sweden’s state-owned SJ, along with Denmark’s DSB and DB of Germany, plans to offer a new international train line which runs between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Hamburg in northern Germany.

The planned route would run daily, departing from Oslo at 8am before making stops in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen and arriving in Hamburg at 7pm. A service departing Hamburg and terminating in Gothenburg is also planned.

The 11 hour service would be quicker than the equivalent journey using either a car and ferry connection or existing train services.

The planned service will enter into operation in 2027. Petter Essén, head of SJ’s vehicle and traffic programme, said the route made sense as it would connect a long stretch which doesn’t have continuous train traffic.