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Today in Denmark For Members

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday
Preparations for the opening of the Danish parliament. Photo: Thomas Traasdahl/Ritzau Scanpix

Women from Greenland sue government over historic forced contraception, parliament to be officially opened for new session and new state debt collection rules enforced. Here’s the news from Denmark on Tuesday.

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Greenland women demand compensation for forced contraception

A group of 67 women from Greenland yesterday filed claims for compensation from the Danish government for being fitted with intrauterine devices (IUDs) without their consent decades ago.

Many of the women were only teenagers when they received coils or IUDs under a programme, discretely organised by Denmark, set up to limit birth rates in the Arctic territory.

While it ceased to be a colony in 1953, Greenland remained under Copenhagen's control.

The plaintiffs are claiming 300,000 kroner each.

Vocabulary: uden samtykke – without consent

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New debt rules mean state can take bigger chunk of wages

Individuals who have debts to the Danish state could see larger proportions of their wages taken to pay it off, the Debt Collection Agency (Gældsstyrelsen) said in a statement.

The agency is implementing new rules for debt collection through automatic deduction of a person’s wages, which would see the percentage that can be taken raised.

The rule change was adopted by parliament last year., allowing Gældsstyrelsen to take up to 40 percent of net wages from debtors. The new changes will allow up to 60 percent for people with higher earnings.

Some 80,000 people were informed in September that the changes will affect them.

Vocabulary: gældsinddrivelse – debt collection

Five opposition parties go for full attendance on Quran law vote

Five parties have lifted the so-called “clearing” arrangement for the vote on the bill to make public burning of the Quran against the law.

That means the parties can have all of their MPs in attendance for the vote. Usually, parties agree to keep their numbers even, so an opposition member will not vote if an MP from the government is away, and vice versa. This means votes have the same outcome as if all 179 MPs were present in the chamber.

But the Liberal Alliance, Denmark Democrats, Conservatives, Danish People’s Party and Nye Borgerlige parties, all right-wing parties, will not apply this for the Quran vote.

The Liberal Alliance legal spokesperson Steffen Larsen has challenged the government not to instruct its lawmakers how to vote (the equivalent of “whipping” in British politics). Larsen told news wire Ritzau he wants “clear demonstration of who is for and who is against this law”.

The move would potentially raise the chances of the bill failing if there are any members of government parties prepared to vote against their own bill.

READ ALSO: Danish opposition parties unite against plan to restrict Quran burnings

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Lawmakers return as new parliamentary year kicks off

The new parliamentary year begins each year on the first Tuesday in October, meaning Danish lawmakers resume voting on and discussing law proposals in parliament.

Parliament is traditionally opened with a speech given by the prime minister – somewhat comparable to a US State of the Union speech – in which the PM gives her assessment of the situation of the Scandinavian nation as the new political year begins.

The speech is usually attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, who watch from the Royal Box in the Christiansborg parliament.

Vocabulary: folketingets åbningstale – speech for the opening of parliament

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