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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
A photo showing changing weather patterns over Tørring, central Jutland on January 24th. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Broad support for women's conscription, 'massive' issues at psychiatric centre that treated Field's shooter, and poor marks from NATO for Danish defense are among the top news stories in Denmark this Thursday.

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Broad support for women's conscription in Denmark 

The Minister of Defense and many political parties have thrown their support behind extending conscription to women in Denmark after trade unions representing Danish soldiers called for the change. 

"We must have equality for men and women in the Armed Forces," Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told broadcaster TV2. "It is a challenge for the women who serve their military service that they are not measured on the same scale." 

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Eight political parties — Conservatives, the Danish People's Party, the Socialist People's Party, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Social Liberals (Radikale), the New Right (Nye Borgerlige), Alternative, and the Left — have all voiced support for the measure. 

In 2022, 73 percent of people in military service were men, while 27 percent were female, according to news agency Ritzau. 

Today, men in Denmark are required to register for conscription following their 18th birthday, while registering for conscription is optional for women. 

A true draft hasn't been in effect in Denmark for many years — the ranks of Denmark's conscripts, about 4,500 a year, are filled with volunteers. They serve a standard service of four months, while specialized units (like the horse squadron) can serve up to 12 months. 

Inspectors: Withering criticism of psychiatric centre that treated Fields shooter 

An investigation by the Danish Patient Safety Authority has identified grave problems at Psychiatric Centre Amager, where the suspected Field's shooter was treated before the attack, according to a draft of the agency's report reviewed by newspaper Jyllands-Posten. 

The inspection was triggered when an employee at Psychiatric Centre Amager told authorities they suspected there had been failures in the man's treatment. 

The Danish Patient Safety Authority finds that nurses routinely changed patients' medications without consulting doctors, while medical students sometimes prescribed antipsychotic and sedative medications to patients again without consulting a doctor. 

The 22-year-old man charged with the Field's shooting reached out to Psychiatric Centre Amager about six months before the attack. He was referred to four different departments within the Psychiatric Centre Amager, according to timelines produced by broadcaster TV2. 

READ MORE: Why does it take so long in Denmark to see a psychologist or therapist?

NATO report: Danish defense deficiencies 

Every two years, NATO assesses its members' progress toward the alliance's defense goals. While those reports are usually made public, the Danish government chose to censor the results of the most recent assessment, published several month ago, for fear of Russian exploitation. Even the previous minister of defense, Morten Bødskov, said he had not been allowed to review the contents of the report. 

But now, defense rapporteurs in Parliament have finally been briefed on the NATO report, according to news agency Ritzau. 

"We must not be naive," says current defense minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. "This is a sensitive analysis of the Danish defense which points to our vulnerabilities. But within this framework, we must also be open about the challenges facing defense — both among the parties at Christianborg and in public." 

READ MORE: US military unloads transport ship at Aarhus Harbour 

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