The Week That Was, January 7th – January 13th 2019

Posted on 13. Jan, 2019 in: TWTW

Politics/Economy:

A weighted average of all polls since the start of December showed the opposition has maintained its lead as the election approaches - the ‘red’ bloc is leading by 2-2.5% despite the ‘blue’ side’s efforts to seize the political agenda with its refugee island project and ‘paradigm change’ in immigration policy.

Leading political commentator Hans Engel predicted the prime minister will plump for a pre-Easter general election – most probably March or the start of April.

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen declined to attend a parliamentary consultation to explain why his charitable ‘Løkke Foundation’ accepted a DKK50,000 donation from an unemployment insurance fund in a growing ‘cash for favours’ scandal.

The Red/Greens warned they won’t support a Social Democrat-led government that allows publicly-owned companies to be privatised.

Energy & Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt denied it was a highly critical report by the Danish Council on Climate Change (Klimarådet) that led to the departure of the chair of the council, Peter Birch Sørensen, last month.

Leading economists predicted the economic upswing will continue in 2019 for the seventh consecutive year, with an estimated 2% GDP growth, but acknowledged there are clouds on the horizon.

EU/Foreign Affairs:

The EU imposed sanctions on Iran's intelligence agency for its role in assassination plots in Denmark and France last year - Iran responded by accusing Denmark of ‘harbouring terrorists’.

Iran’s ambassador to Denmark, Morteza Moradian, declined to attend the New Year parliamentary reception at Christiansborg due to his refusal to shake hands with women – a religious policy that also includes Speaker of the House Pia Kjærsgaard who hosted the traditional gathering.

Danes are already heading for the polling booths twice this year but the Social Liberals (R) want a third vote - the centrist party called for a ‘security’ referendum on Denmark’s justice affairs and defence EU opt-outs.

The Socialist People’s Party (SF) called on China's Huawei Technologies to be excluded from building part of Denmark’s new 5G telecommunications infrastructure - Denmark’s biggest telecom company, TDC, has a close cooperation agreement with Huawei, which has been operating, maintaining, and suppling equipment for TDC’s mobile network since 2014.

Morocco’s ambassador to Denmark, Khadija Rouissi, said the Danish authorities were fully aware that deported terrorist Said Mansour would be imprisoned on arrival in Casablanca last week, raising human rights concerns.

The New Conservatives are aiming for the European parliament - party leader Pernille Vermlund said there’s no real alternative for right-wing voters so the anti-immigrant party is hoping to run a candidate on an anti-EU ticket.

Denmark’s consulate in Melbourne was one of more than a dozen foreign missions in Australia that received a suspicious package through the mail, Wednesday.

A new report by the Tax Ministry showed the Danish corporate tax rate, at 22%, has crept up over the 21.9% average in the EU.

Denmark’s EU Competion Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, who’s previously targeted tax evasion by global IT companies, launched an in-depth investigation to examine whether tax rulings granted by the Netherlands to the US sports clothing giant Nike may have given the company an unfair advantage.

Social Affairs:

The government guaranteed there will be more ferry crossings from the proposed Lindholm ‘refugee island’ to the mainland, following criticism from human rights groups.

Danish schoolkids performed better than expected on the European Commission’s latest education monitor, ranking 4th out of 33 countries (EU28+5)– Estonia is 1st, followed by Finland and Ireland.

Social Affairs Minister Mai Mercado said sex workers work in a ‘poorly regulated’ industry and, as taxpayers, should have the right to claim unemployment insurance in line with all other employees in Denmark.

Truck trailers on trains were banned following last week’s deadly accident on the Great Belt Bridge after tests revealed a ‘proportionally excessive number of errors’ in the locking mechanism.

Left-leaning daily Politiken imposed air travel restrictions on employees to reduce to its carbon footprint.

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

Business:

The government announced plans to build nine new islands close to Copenhagen that will host 12,000 jobs - former business minister Brian Mikkelsen called it a ‘European Silicone Valley’ that will attract the best science companies and highly-skilled manpower.

International financier Bill Browder told Danish officials and MPs that Danske Bank lied to a French judge on at least four occasions regarding the money laundering scandal - Danske Bank is being sued in the U.S. by a major pension fund that claims it defrauded investors and inflated its share price by hiding and failing to stop widespread money laundering at its Estonian branch.

Danish motorists spent a record amount on new cars last year despite a drop in the sale of smaller vehicles - consumers bought more top-end cars than ever, boosting total sales to DKK52.7bn (€7bn), a 3% increase on 2017.

No more than 1,500 electric cars were sold in Denmark last year compared to 46,000 in Norway - while Danish lawmakers continue to argue about registration duty and VAT, Norway provides attractive benefits for electric car buyers.

Wind energy giant Vestas became the first company in the world to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines - since 1979 the company has installed over 66,000 wind turbines in approximately 80 countries around the world on six continents.

The largest Danish-Chinese pig farm, the Heilongjiang Asia-Europe Animal Husbandry Company with 73,000 pigs, was hit by an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever.

And That Was the Week That Was, January 7th – January 13th 2019: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required).

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