The Week That Was, February 12th – February 18th 2018      

Posted on 18. Feb, 2018 in: TWTW

Politics/Economy:

A new Gallup poll showed the opposition is on course to regain power - if an election was held today the ‘red’, Social-Democrat-led bloc would win 52.5% of the vote against 47.5% for the current coalition and Danish People’s Party (DPP), providing a comfortable 94-81 seat parliamentary majority.

Liberal Alliance leader Anders Samuelsen’s approval rating has sunk to an all-time low following his failure to win tax cuts for high earners - in the latest YouGov popularity rankings Mr Samuelsen dropped to 2.17, the lowest ever score for a party leader.

The Social Democrats’ new, hard line immigration policy has divided the left wing - a number of opposition MPs distanced themselves from the proposal to turn away asylum seekers at the border and send them to a Danish-run reception centre in North Africa or a safe third country – despite this a new poll showed significant majority of the electorate supports the proposals.

A local Danish People’s Party (DPP) town councillor was reprimanded by party leadership for claiming that ‘Muslim immigration is far worse than the German occupation of World War 2.’

The economy bounced back in Q4/2017 after a slowdown in Q3 - GDP growth reached 0.9 in the year’s final three months, leading to an estimated 2% for 2017.

The consumer price index rose 0.7 percent year-over-year in January, slower than December's 1.0 percent climb - the weakest inflation since June, when prices had grown 0.6 percent.

Denmark obtained 43.4 percent of its electricity from wind last year, beating its own record - the government’s goal is to derive 50 percent of the country’s entire energy consumption from renewables by 2030.

EU/Foreign Affairs:

The UK government publicly accused Russia of last summer’s NotPetya cyber-attack that shut down companies across Europe, including Danish shipping giant Maersk - Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said the Russian state and military is 'heavily implicated.’ A new report by the Innovation Ministry warned that the state’s IT security system is ‘riddled with holes’.

Mr Frederiksen also warned that War in Europe can no longer be ruled out – he said Europe lost its innocence when Russia annexed Krimea, which forced the west to acknowledge that Russia has the same power ambitions as the former Soviet Union. After a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, Wednesday, Mr Frederiksen said Denmark is expecting to come under more pressure from the USA to live up to NATO’s target of 2% of GDP on defence spending that the alliance’s members all agreed to in 2006.

In conjunction with Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen’s participation in the International Coalition Against ISIS conference in Kuwait, Denmark donated DKK20m ($3.2m) to aid the reconstruction of regions devastated in the battle against the Islamic State.

The Danish People’s Party’s (DPP) foreign affairs spokesman Søren Espersen said Danish foreign fighters are traitors who should never be allowed to return to Denmark, after the U.S. appealed for countries to deal with citizens who've fought for the Islamic State and bring them home to face prosecution.

Social Affairs:

Royal Consort Prince Henrik, the husband of Queen Margrethe, died on Tuesday night at the age of 83. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen expressed his ‘great sorrow’ in a press release: “The Royal Family has lost its anchor, Queen Margrethe has lost her insightful and warm life companion for more than half a century, and Denmark has lost a unique representative for our country." Flags throughout Denmark were lowered to half-mast and a month of national mourning was declared. Rabid tabloid daily Ekstra Bladet denied allegations it ran an aggressive harassment campaign against Prince Henrik when he was alive - over the years he was mockingly referred to as ‘King Henrik’, ‘Prince Beer Belly’ and ‘Lazy Henrik’.

In response to a new study by the Ministry for Economy and the Interior showing that around 28,000 families live in a parallel society where Danish isn’t spoken and very few work, DPP’s integration spokesman Martin Henriksen said the solution is to ban asylum seekers and deport non-western immigrants.

The Danish People’s Party’s finance spokesman René Christensen said social fraud is a ‘ticking bomb’ that’s threatening the survival of the welfare state, following news that an African refugee family in Odense received DKK327,656 ($53,000) in social benefits last year even though they had left Denmark and returned to Somalia.

The Liberal Alliance accused the Social Democrats of trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist by calling on local authorities to lay down guidelines regarding the serving of pork and observance of Christmas traditions in kindergartens and child care centres.

An anti-Islamist couple who interrupted a sermon at Roskilde Cathedral with an Islamic call to prayers were fined DKK2,000 each for disturbing a church service.

Romania and Poland were the biggest ‘suppliers’ of immigrants to Denmark in 2017 - new figures showed 5,483 Romania nationals relocated her last year and 4,662 Polish citizens.

To read all the above articles in full see:  http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required)

Business:

Denmark is one of the least productive countries in the world according to a new survey by Priceonomics based on how long it takes to complete a task - 19.6 days in this country, leading to a lowly 36th position out of 40 countries, compared to only 14 days in Sweden, the second most productive country in the world.

Denmark's first tech ambassador, Casper Klynge, announced plans to set up an office in Beijing.

Shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk made a Q4/17 profit of $386 million, up from a loss of $2.7 billion a year earlier, as revenue rose to $8.2 billion from $7 billion.

Telecom giant TDC  accepted a takeover bid of DKK 40.8 bn ($6.7 bin) by a group of Danish pension funds led by Australian Macquarie.

Danish Crown, the world's largest pork exporter, bought out the Polish meat producer Gzella for an undisclosed sum.

And That Was The Week That Was, February 12th – February 18th 2018: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required).

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