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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

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.

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 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.” 

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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For members


Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Delayed budget proposal on the way, refuse collectors strike in Copenhagen and several injured in shooting in Greenland. Here are the main news stories from Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Budget proposal to be presented 

The coalition government is scheduled to present a new budget proposal at noon today. Danish budgets are usually proposed and eventually adopted during the autumn, but last year’s election disrupted the normal timetable.

A so-called “negotiation reserve” (forhandlingsreserve), a pool of money in the budget that can be allocated at a later date based on agreements between parties, has been significantly cut from the amount set down by the proposal made by the pre-election, single-party Social Democratic government, according to news wire Ritzau.

Most of the reserve in the earlier proposal was expected to be expected on the health system.

The lower amount is due to the shorter timescale of this year’s budget according to the report.

We’ll report any key announcements from the budget proposal in an article on our website later today.

Labour court orders Copenhagen refuse collectors back to work

Refuse collectors in parts of Copenhagen have staged a wildcat strike – a strike not sanctioned by their trade union – in recent days, due to a dispute between the workers and the Amager Resource Center (ARC) waste management company, related to working hours.

The Danish labour court (Arbejdsretten) has ordered them to return to work and their unions have also said they should not continue the walkout, union journal Fagbladet 3F reports.

The labour court has ruled the strikes in breach of the refuse collectors’ collective bargaining agreement, meaning they can potentially be fined for continuing the action.

Five injured in Greenland shooting

Two people were hit by shots fired in the town of Narsaq in Greenland yesterday afternoon and a further three were injured in the incident, Greenland police chief Brian Thomsen told local media KNR.

The two people who were shot are not in a life-threatening condition.

The three injured people were hit by projectiles caused by the shots, according to the report. Police are yet to ascertain a motive for the shooting.

Denmark against EU plan to limit use of biomass as fuel

The government opposes an EU plan to limit the amount of wood member countries can burn as biomass, according to newspaper Dagbladet Information.

The EU parliament wants to reduce the forms of biomass that are considered sustainable energy, removing wood from this list.

But the climate ministry is against such a move, according to a letter sent by the ministry to an interest organisation for the Danish timer industry, Dansk Skovforening, according to Information.

The newspaper reports that, in the letter, the ministry states that it “does not think the EU parliament’s proposal to implement a new definition and place restrictions on the use of primary wood biomass is the right way to go”.

UN rules hold that biomass must be CO2 neutral but some experts have said it emits CO2 directly into the atmosphere, according to the report.