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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Municipalities criticise government bureaucracy, lawyers push for court case against party leader and Credit Suisse ripples reach Denmark. Here are the lead news stories in Denmark on Thursday morning.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday
Liberal Alliance leader Alex Vanopslagh has come in for renewed criticism over his "double home" scandal. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Municipalities criticise state interference in local government 

The government is not keeping its promise to reduce bureaucracy and state involvement in the Danish welfare system, according to criticisms set down by the national organisation for municipalities, Kommunernes Landsforening (KL).

A note sent by KL to trade unions sets out criticism of state interference in local welfare matters, according to newspaper Politiken which reports to have seen the note.

The government has described its own project as “the most comprehensive release of the public sector”, but reality is proving the opposite according to the criticism.

KL’s chairman Martin Damm reiterated the organisation’s position in comments to Politiken and cited unemployment as a particular area where local staff are faced with too much emphasis on “putting the right tick in a box”.

Vocabulary: statsstyring — state control

Parliament in double standards accusation over party leader’s apartment scandal

Two lawyers have accused parliament of double standards for deciding not to legally pursue Alex Vanopslagh, the leader of the Liberal Alliance party, after he was found to have breached rules relating to apartments provided to MPs.

Vanopslagh was provided with an apartment in Copenhagen and given parliamentary subsidies because he was registered as living at an address in Struer, West Jutland. It later emerged he did not genuinely use the Struer address as his home and had thereby broken the rules. He later paid back the subsidies in full and returned the Copenhagen apartment.

“I’m not for one second in doubt that if this had been a municipal case, the municipality would have asked for the money back and reported him to the police,” lawyer Mads Pramming, a benefit fraud specialist, told broadcaster DR.

The speaker of parliament, Søren Gade, has told DR that the case will not be taken further. A previous case from 2015 has been cited as precedent for the decision.

Vocabulary: socialt bedrageri — social benefit fraud

Danish banks affected by Credit Suisse crisis

Uncertainty about the future of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, which saw its shares tumble on Wednesday, has sent ripples across Europe including to banks in Denmark.

Danske Bank saw its share price drop 5.8 percent with Nordea and Jyske Bank both losing over 6 percent, news wire Ritzau reports.

“The bank sector is very intertwined. But investors don’t know how big the interconnections are or where they are. That uncertainty makes investors go into their shells,” Sydbank senior economist Søren Kristensen said.

Credit Suisse’s shares plunged yesterday by over 25 percent after its main shareholder, Saudi National Bank, said it would not provide more financial assistance to the embattled Swiss banking giant. It is now set to borrow over 50 billion Swiss francs from the Swiss central bank.

Vocabulary: chokbølger — shockwaves

Danish house prices could fall by nearly 10 percent this year

 A forecast by Denmark’s central bank Nationalbanken yesterday predicted that house prices could fall by 9.4 percent this year.

In the forecast, the National Bank writes that the predicted trend “reflects a market where sellers have not sufficiently reduced asking prices in relation to what buyers are willing to and can afford to pay in relation to the steep interest rate increases”.

“There have been large knockdowns [due to interest, ed.] which have increased further in recent months. That indicates that further falls in price await,” it said.

Nationalbanken raised its lead interest rate in December by 0.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

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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