­­­The Week That Was, August 8th – 14th 2022:

Posted on 14. Aug, 2022 in: TWTW

Politics/Economy:

The latest Gallup poll indicated the government and its centre-left allies would win 46.6% of the vote if an election was held right now, against the opposition parties' 48.8% - ex-prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s centrist Moderates Party is at 4.1%, which would potentially hand them the balance of power - the Danish People’s Party (DPP), the biggest party on the right following the 2015 election with 21.1% and 37 seats, has fallen below the 2% needed for parliamentary representation.

A new Epinion poll for DR News showed Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s approval ratings have sunk to an all-time low - 34% of the electorate believe she’s doing a poor job of running the country, her worst showing since the government came to power in 2019 and 11 percentage points down on last December.  Søren Pape Poulsen is seen as the country’s most popular politician, with 54% of voters saying they have a ‘positive opinion’ of the man who many see as a potential prime minister - parties on the right urged the Conservative Party leader to reveal whether he’s a candidate.

Pernille Vermund, leader of the anti-immigrant New Right, launched a full-frontal attack on Inger Støjberg, a strong indication that a general election is approaching - the two women have been close allies but in an interview with Politiken, Ms Vermund dismissed the founder of the new Denmark’s Democrats Party as ‘untrustworthy, hypocritical and a master of the quick fix.’

After being questioned by parliament’s Granskningsudvalget (Oversight Committee), Thursday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen again dismissed calls to suspend the ten top civil servants who the Mink Commission concluded should be held accountable for the decision to exterminate the entire Danish mink population - 76% of voters in a new survey said Minkgate has damaged the PM’s popularity. Sensationalist tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet was accused of ‘victimisation’ and ‘bullying’ for hiring a small-engine plane to fly over Christiansborg (Parliament), Monday, trailing a banner calling for the Prime Minister’s closest advisor, Barbara Bertelsen, to be sent home for her role in the Minkgate affair.

Inflation hit a 39-year-high in July - the latest figures showed the price of goods has increased by an average of 13.2% in the past year, the highest annual increase since February 1982, mainly fueled by significant increases on food, electricity, fuel and gas.

The Socialist People’s Party (SPP) and Red/Green Alliance called for a ‘super tax’ on energy companies earning ‘abnormal’ profits from the energy crisis, with the extra revenue passed on to support the most vulnerable people who are hardest hit by rising energy prices and inflation.

Denmark’s total trade surplus rose to DKK 24bn ($2.2bn) in June from DKK 21bn ($2.8bn)  in May - exports were 0.7 percent higher while imports decreased 1.3 percent.

Industrial production, an economic indicator that reports the total value of Denmark’s industrial output, rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent monthly in June, slower than May's revised 3.1 percent gain.

Only 318 apartments were sold in Copenhagen in June, the lowest figure for a single calendar month since 2014 and another sign that the 8-year housing boom is coming to an end.

Foreign Affairs/EU:

Denmark pledged a further €110m in financial assistance to Ukraine, part of more than €1.5bn committed by 26 countries at Thursday’s international donor conference in Copenhagen - ahead of the conference, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for further weapons and funds to ’support Ukraine and ensure Russia's defeat on the battlefield.’ The government confirmed its offer to train Ukrainian troops despite opposition from the Russian Embassy - in a mail to TV2 News, Ambassador Vladimir Barbin denounced the move is an impediment to peace.

At a meeting in Malmø, southern Sweden, the defence ministers of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden reached agreement to share airspace and military infrastructure to counter what they termed ‘irresponsible behaviour by Russia’ - Swedish Minister of Defence Peter Peter Hultqvist noted that the Sound Strait separating Sweden and Denmark ‘is the entrance to the Baltic Sea and strategically important in case of a crisis or a war.’

The government is considering President Volodymyr Zelensky’s appeal to ban Russian tourists – Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told TV2  he would think carefully about any measures that would hit Putin and Russia hard ‘and help to stop the illegal war of aggression against Ukraine’.

150 Danish troops who will be deployed in Kosovo and Poland this year are currently participating in a training exercise in the UK alongside their British and Canadian counterparts.

Social Affairs:

In response to widespread criticism, the Danish Health Authority (DHA) widened its monkeypox vaccination programme to include all gay men, following new figures showing 126 men have now been infected in this country - health experts called for a ‘radical change of behavior’ amongst men at this week's Copenhagen Pride festival to avoid the spread of the monkeypox virus.

State-run rail carrier DSB beefed up security at stations throughout the Copenhagen region following a rise in crime against passengers - security guards will patrol 29 stations as part of the DKK 24m ($3.2m) per year Safety and Security Package passed by parliament last year.

400,000 households have received the DKK 6,000 (€800) heating allowance subsidy agreed by a parliamentary majority in June.

Business:

Despite clean energy giant Ørsted’s ambitious aim to reduce its CO2 emissions by 98% ahead of 2025, a new report showed the partially state-owned company has actually increased emissions in both 2020 and 2021 by 16%.

7-Eleven’s head office in Denmark confirmed that hackers were behind the closure of 175 stores on Monday.

Wind energy giant Vestas reported a €182m loss in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, compared to an operating profit of €94m for the same period last year as revenue decreased by 7% - CEO Henrik Andersen blamed the poor result on ‘geo-political uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.’

Brewing giant Carlsberg upwardly adjusted its profit projection for 2022, a reflection of strong sales after bars and restaurants reopened following pandemic lockdowns.

Passenger figures at Copenhagen Airport are close to pre-corona levels - more than 2.4m travellers passed through the airport in July making it the busiest month since COVID-19 triggered the worst aviation crisis ever in early 2020.

The prospect of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) being hit by a new strike this summer appears to have disappeared after Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian pilot union members voted to adopt a collective bargaining agreement reached with the airline last month.

Record high petrol prices have fallen by nearly 20% since the start of June - the average price for a litre of petrol in this country is now around 16.09 kr, compared to 19.59kr two months ago.

Shares in Bavarian Nordic, which have risen dramatically since the company’s monkeypox vaccine was approved by both the US and EU medical authorities, dropped by 15% this week but are still the year’s best-performing on Copenhagen Stock Exchange’s trend-setting C25 index of blue-chip shares.

And That Was the Week That Was, August 8th – 14th 2022: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required).

(For a brief round-up of all the summer news, please click here)

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