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Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday

Warnings of icy roads on weekend, Russia plans to release Nord Stream correspondence, foreign minister discusses end to Saudi arms ban, and deputy PM yet to set date for return from sick leave. Here's some of the day's news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday
Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Lars Løkke Rasmussen speaks during the opening session of the India-Denmark: Partners for Green and Sustainable Progress conference in New Delhi on February 28, 2023. Photo: Money SHARMA/AFP

Russia plans to release Nord Stream correspondence with Denmark

First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, has said that Russia wants to share all of its correspondence with Denmark, Sweden, and Germany, both publicly and with members of the UN Security Council. 

“You know that there are national investigations in several countries, namely Denmark, Sweden and Germany, and we are not being involved in this investigation not because we don’t want to but because they keep us away,” Polyanskiy said in an interview with Jackson Hinkle on The Dive podcast. “They are denying any access to information, they are denying any participation regardless of the fact that we are an affected party, so we should be a part of this investigation.

Polyanskiy complained that the three countries “are just writing to us some letters saying that ‘we are doing what we are doing, and mind your own business.'”

“To be transparent, we will publish this whole correspondence quite soon and distribute it among the members of the Security Council,” he said.

Denmark to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE: Foreign Minister 

Denmark’s foreign minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has said that Denmark will end its ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, brought in in 2018 and 2019 after the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and out of fear that arms could be used int he war in Yemen. 

“You can be a country that is problematic in our eyes, and still have some legitimate security policy interests,” Rasmussen told the Politiken newspaper. “And my line is that our line must be located in the same place as the lines of other European countries”. 

However, Rasmussen stressed that the shift in policy would not trigger a “Saudi Arabian arms export adventure”, with his ministry carrying out annual country analyses and security assessments aimed at preventing weapons being used either against countries’ own populations or in wars where “the countries in question engage inappropriately”.

It is estimated that there are more than 200 companies in the Danish defense industry.

Rasmussen is calling Denmark’s new foreign policy doctrine ‘pragmatic idealism’ or ‘pragmatic realism’, which he says is replacing the ‘values-based foreign policy’ of his predecessor, Jeppe Kofod. 

Danish vocab: sikkerhedsvurderinger – security analyses

Warnings for icy roads over weekend as snow thaws 

Denmark’s state forecaster DMI has warned of treacherous driving conditions over the weekend as temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing points. 

“Every day we could see snow and snow showers everywhere, not in very large quantities, but it could fall anywhere in the country,” Erik Hansen, a meteorologist at the agency told the Ritzau news wire. “That in itself will mean slippery roads. But then we also have the problem that temperatures will rise above freezing during the day, so this snow melts, and then in the evening, it will freeze again.” 

On Sunday, he warned, there was also a risk of a ice storm, a storm characterised by freezing rain which leaves a thick layer of ice on all exposed surfaces. 

Danish vocab: isslag – ice storm

Multiresistant bacteria from recalled antibiotic found in two Danish patients

Denmark’s infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has detected the multiresistant bacteria CPO in a further two people who were treated with antibiotic medicine Dicillin.

Traces of the bacteria were found in an additional 12 patients, SSI said in a statement on Thursday. Two-thirds of those patients – eight in total – were previously treated with Dicillin before the multiresistant bacteria were detected.

The remaining four are still undergoing tests, according to the agency.

The discoveries mean that SSI has now found 25 people affected by the CPO outbreak, with 11 cases already registered.

Danish vocab: behandling – treatment

Danish far-right party in crisis as new leader fired over funds dispute

The far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right) party has deposed its leader Lars Boje Mathiesen and excluded him from the party over a dispute related to use of party funding.

An email sent from the party’s executive committee to its members, seen by news wire Ritzau, states that Mathiesen has been removed from both Nye Borgerlige’s parliamentary group and from party membership.

“Lars Boje Mathiesen has, incredibly, demanded a transfer of 350,000 kroner from an internal party account to his own private account for a personal branding campaign,” party secretary Jesper Hammer writes in the mail.

“A campaign in which the party is not included and which has no direct relevance or connection with Lars Boje Mathiesen’s membership and leadership of Nye Borgerlige,” he continues.

Mathiesen is yet to respond to a Ritzau request for comment.

Danish vocab: helt uhørt – unbelievably (literally, “completely unheard of”)

Danish deputy PM yet to set date for return from sick leave

Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, who is also the defence minister, says he expects to return to parliament following a spell of sick leave but has not set a date.

Ellemann-Jensen, who is currently on sick leave due to stress, posted an update on his situation on Facebook on Thursday.

“It’s going well with my health. I’m in good hands and I look forward to having a daily routine at Christiansborg [parliament, ed.] and in the defence ministry,” he wrote.

The Liberal leader has been signed off with stress since February 6th after being briefly admitted to hospital last week for nausea, just after returning from a visit to Ukraine.

In the Facebook statement, he did not give a set date for his return but said he must be “ready” to resume his work.

“Because I know that you can be neither minister nor party leader on half-power,” he said.

Danish vocab: jeg glæder mig til – I look forward to

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For members


Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday

Parliament votes for joining EU defence schemes, Danish PM 'rounded on' EU Council President, new fee for repeated citizenship applications, and Queen Margrethe to return to public duties. Here's some of the day's news.

Today in Denmark: a roundup of the news on Friday

Danish parliament votes to join EU ammunition-to-Ukraine scheme

A broad majority in the Danish parliament voted on Thursday for the country to join the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco), meaning Denmark will be able to take part in the EU’s joint scheme for buying and delivering ammunition to Ukraine. 

The move was made possible by the referendum decision last June to end Denmark’s opt-out from the European Union’s defence policies. 

“One of the arguments for abolishing the defence reservation was that we should have the opportunity for greater, active participation in European defence policy,” Troels Lund Poulsen, Denmark’s acting Minister of Defence, said in a press release. 

Danish vocab: fælles – common/joint

Mette Frederiksen ’rounded on EU council president’ over inept chairing of summit

Danish Prime Minister gave EU Council President Charles Martel a public dressing down at a European Council summit in February, the Politico newspaper has reported. 

“In a rare interjection,” the newspaper reports, “the Danish prime minister took to the mic to voice her displeasure. But the target of her ire wasn’t the subject of the debate; rather, the way it was being conducted. Charles Michel, the president of the Council and the man responsible for running it, was allowing too much time for the discussion of specific texts instead of steering the debate toward a conclusion.” 

When Frederiksen was asked about the episode on arrival at a new EU summit on Thursday, she played it down, but did not deny it. 

“Ah, now that’s been twisted a little,” she told TV2, reportedly with a lopsided smile. 

Danish vocab: skæv – lop-sided 

Denmark to introduce new fee for repeated citizenship applications

The Danish government will ask persons applying for citizenship for the third or subsequent time after previous rejections to pay additional fees, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration has announced.

Under current rules, a person whose application for citizenship is rejected can apply again in future without paying an additional fee.

The government has decided to change this so that a third or subsequent application by the same person will incur an additional fee, the immigration ministry said in a statement.

The fee for applying for citizenship is currently 4,000 kroner. When a person submits an application, they can apply again at no extra cost should their application not be successful under the existing rules.

There are a number of reasons a Danish citizenship application can be rejected, including criteria related to residency, language, criminal records and financial self-sufficiency. A Danish citizenship test must also be passed before applying.

Danish vocab: et gebyr – a fee

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe to return to public duty on 83rd birthday

Queen Margrethe is scheduled to return to public duty on April 16th, her 83rd birthday, following a period of convalescence after a back operation.

The Queen’s return to public duty on her birthday was announced in a palace statement on Thursday.

“On this occasion, Her Majesty and The Royal Family will appear on the balconies at Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg at 12pm,” the palace said.

“It is expected that The Queen will resume her duties as the country’s sovereign the same day after her successful back operation in February,” it continued.

“The Queen’s physical rehabilitation is going well, but there will continue to be a number of major tasks that The Queen cannot carry out as planned in the coming months. Information about this will be shared on an ongoing basis,” it said.

Danish vocab: at genoptage – to resume 

Danish hospital made 293 cancer patients wait too long for surgery

Some 293 bowel cancer patients at Aarhus University Hospital waited longer than they should have to undergo surgery.

The Central Jutland health authority, which administrates the hospital in Aarhus, gave the figure in a review it released on Thursday.

The admission from the regional health board comes after broadcaster DR had reported that 182 patients with serious bowel cancer had waited too long for an operation at Aarhus University Hospital (AUH).

The period covered by DR’s reporting is May to December 2022, while the figure from Region Central Jutland is for January 2022 until February 2023.

Danish law requires cancer patients to be operated on within two weeks of the decision to operate being made.

Danish vocab: kræftpatienter – cancer patients