The Week That Was, June 10th – June 17th 2018

Posted on 18. Jun, 2018 in: TWTW


In a major turnaround, deputy prime minister Kristian Jensen said the Danish People’s Party (DPP) would be welcomed into a 'four clover’ centre-right coalition after the next election, but DPP leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl said his party’s main aim is stronger ‘across the aisle’ cooperation between the his party, the Liberals, and Social Democrats.

A new poll showed voters’ confidence in their elected officials has sunk to an all-time low – two out of three respondents said they have little trust in politicians.

Justice Minister Søren Pape ordered the newly re-opened Tibet Commission to extend its investigation into potential police violations to cover all Chinese state visits since 1995.

Minister of Environment and Food Jakob Elleman-Jensen demanded answers as to why a thousand animals have reportedly been illegally and improperly transported in trucks between 2015-2017.

Danish exports dropped for the sixth month in a row in May and have now fallen 0.9% this year compared to the first four months of 2017 – ‘far from impressive’ and a ‘challenge to growth’ according to economists.

Inflation increased for the second straight month in May as the consumer price index rose 1.1 percent but wage earners can still look forward to a rise in disposable income this year, according to leading economists - wage increases are currently around 2%.

EU/Foreign Affairs:

Denmark is to get an extra seat in the European parliament after next year’s EU election - following Great Britain’s exit there will be 14 Danish MEPs compared to 13 today.

The refugee situation topped the agenda during UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi 2-day visit Copenhagen this week – he urged Denmark and other European countries to work together on coherent asylum policies.

After ex-NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen accused Donald Trump of causing ‘long-term damage to the transatlantic relationship’, his successor, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said at an event in Brussel that ‘Trump's course is a ‘massive wake-up call’ and the EU should ‘stay cool and prepare to take over global leadership.’

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen welcomed the joint statement signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, Tuesday, but warned that North Korea has backed down on previous promises.

Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on the EU won’t affect Denmark’s plan to invest heavily in American defence technologies – he said it’s ‘vital’ to split the issue of trade from national security issues.

Despite Denmark’s cool relationship with Russia right now, the Faroe Islands, a Danish dependency, are targeting a free trade deal with Moscow next year to cement their place as Russia’s biggest foreign supplier of fish.

Culture Minister Mette Bock (LA) was accused of supporting Vladimar Putin’s propaganda by travelling to Russia to watch Denmark play in the World Cup – her decision split the government coalition, provoking criticism from both the Conservatives and Liberals.

Berlingske reported how the Danish authorities are gearing up to deal with external disinformation, fake news, and propaganda in the upcoming election campaign but failed to identify exactly where they believe the threat comes, but senior researcher Flemming Splidsboel of the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) said  it would be ‘relevant’ to look towards Russia.

Denmark is the last country in Europe that has failed to green light the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline after the Swedish government approved the project that will carry Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

The government has failed to convince the EU to index child benefits for migrant workers to living costs in the country where they come from - Employment Minster Troels Lund Poulsen said it isn’t a battle that can be won in the foreseeable future.

The government urged the EU to help member countries combat the cross-border transfer of illegal funds, following the Danske Bank/Estonia money laundering scandal.

A parliamentary majority is against EU plans to guarantee fathers two months’ maternity leave.

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen held talks with his Greenland counterpart, Kim Kielsen, to explore if and how Danish funding could be used to build or expand three planned airports in Greenland.

In a joint crackdown on ‘sham’, pro-forma marriages, Danish and German police, working with Europol, raided a dozen apartments in a cross-border raid on an illegal human trafficking network.

Social Affairs:

Integration Minister Inger Støjberg rejected calls to improve conditions for children at the Sjælsmark Transit Centre where, according to the political opposition, around 90 children of failed asylum seekers are being housed under ‘intolerable conditions’.

New labour market statistics showed non-western immigrants are finding work at a record rate - 40,500 people from ethnic minorities were claiming some form of social benefit in February this year, a 20% drop on April 2016 - at the same time the rate of employment amongst newcomers rose from 43% in Q4/2015 to 47% in Q3/2017.

Transport Minister Ole Birk Olesen said fasting Muslim bus drivers pose no threat to public safety, after Integration Minister Inger Støjberg last month urged all working Muslims to take leave from work during Ramadan ‘to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society’.

Experts, lawmakers, and members of the public discussed the pros and cons of legalised cannabis at an open parliamentary forum arranged by the Alternatives, who have joined together with the Red/Greens, Socialist People’s Party, Social Liberals, and Liberal Alliance to call for legalisation.

Data watchdog, Tilsynet med Efterretningstjenesterne, revealed that Danish intelligence agencies have illegally stored information that should have been deleted a long time ago - information pertaining to Danish politicians, journalists, members of NGOs, remains on file in the databases of PET (Police Intelligence) and FE (Defence Intelligence) in violation of data protection laws.

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Sydbank warned that President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on imported cars could be a severe blow to Denmark - Danish factories supply brakes and many other parts to German auto makers with major exports to the USA so will suffer a knock-on effect.

Danish multinational Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest diabetes drug company, is considering laying-off up to 3,000 staff due to challenging market conditions in the United States - a second global pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, agreed to pay a $52.6m fine to resolve a U.S. probe into its financial support of charitable foundations.

The local authority in Esbjerg has bought up a 250,000 square metres plot of land to accommodate an, as yet unnamed, global IT company, the sixth of its kind in this country - Apple is building a DKK 6.7 bn, 166,000-square-metre data centre in Viborg, Google has purchased land for DKK65m in Fredericia, and Facebook is building a major construction close to Odense to house three servers.

The local Haderslev municipality signed an agreement with Danish and US weapons manufacturers for a new military fighter-jet centre, ‘ACE Denmark’, with the aim of ‘supporting and developing talent and expertise in the defence industry’.

Scandinavia’s flagship airline SAS will open a new route from Copenhagen to Hong Kong this winter.

Danish solar power producer Better Energy, in conjunction with the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), signed a loan agreement for the construction of a 6.4-MW solar power plant in Ukraine.

And Ørsted, formerly DONG, signed a deal to sell its 50 percent ownership of gas-fired power plant Enecogen in the Netherlands.

And That Was The Week That Was, June 10th – June 17th 2018: To read all the above articles in full see: (subscription required).

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