The Week That Was, October 2nd – October 8th 2017

Posted on 08. Oct, 2017 in: TWTW

Politics/Economy

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen made his opening speech to parliament, the constitutionally-required ‘state of the nation’ address coupled with the government’s proposed legislative goals for the next 8 months  - he accused opposition leader Mette Frederiksen of misleading voters by reducing Danish politics to a straight choice between more welfare or lower taxes. In response Ms Frederiksen said the government should be concentrating on better cancer treatment and improving conditions for the elderly instead of tax cuts.

Ms Frederiksen is still seen as the best prime ministerial candidate by a majority of voters but Lars Løkke Rasmussen continues to narrow the gap - a new Gallup survey showed 35% of the electorate see the Social Democrat leader as the most capable of leading the country, down from 40% 12 months ago, while over the same period the current incumbent has risen to 26% from 22% last year.

Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen revealed how extra funding in the new defence bill will be allocated - Danish warships are to be fitted with new missile systems to defend Denmark’s airspace against hostile aircraft, navy vessels will  be equipped with new sonar technology that can detect and protect against attacks from submarines, and a 4.000-man ‘combat-ready’ brigade is to be set up ready to assist other NATO allies in battle. Mr Frederiksen said Denmark needs to acknowledge that the Baltic region has been neglected because everybody believed in lasting peace after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Left-wing opposition parties demanded answers from Mr Frederiksen regarding allegations that illegal North Korean workers were employed to build a Danish warship.

The right-leaning think-tank CEPOS warned that the government’s tax reform plan will make an already complicated system virtually impossible to understand for the average taxpayer.

Under pressure from a parliamentary majority, the government suspended the stipulation that hospitals improve their performance by 2% annually within the same budget.

Economic growth was slightly higher than projected in the year’s second quarter - the latest figures from Statistics Denmark show Gross Domestic Product (GDP) advanced 0.7 percent sequentially in Q2.  During Q1 the rate of expansion was 0.5 percent, which was revised down from 0.6 percent.

Denmark’s largest lender Danske Bank said it now expects the country’s gross domestic product to grow by 2.4 percent this year, up from an earlier forecast of a growth of 1.9 percent.

National Bank governor Lars Rohde said the Danish krone’s recent dip against the euro is nothing more than a ‘minor blip’ – he also warned that Denmark’s historically low negative interest rates will rise as the country’s economy recovers.

EU/Foreign Affairs:

A significant majority of Danes are opposed to leaving the EU. In a new poll, 64% of voters said they would prefer to remain in the union - only 27% would support a Brexit-style ‘DanExit’.

Danish politicians condemned the use of violence by Spanish police that interrupted the vote in a referendum on the independence of Catalonia but Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen declined to get involved in the dispute, calling it an ‘internal Spanish issue’.

Business Minister Brian Mikklesen led a delegation of top Danish business leaders to London to drum up Copenhagen’s financial credentials for the post-Brexit era.

The European Commission launched plans for the biggest reform of EU VAT rules in a quarter of a century, partly motivated by the scandal surrounding a 40-year-old man from Østerbro in Copenhagen who’s currently under arrest in Spain.

Denmark has reduced its public debt more than any other EU country - in 2016 Denmark had a debt of DKK13bn, the equivalent of 37.8% of GDP, compared to countries such as Greece and Italy that are carrying a public debt in excess of 100% of GDP.

Danish EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced she is taking Ireland to court over the country’s failure to collect a huge bill for back taxes from Apple - the move came as she also ordered Luxembourg to collect around €250m in unpaid taxes from Amazon, the online retail giant.

Denmark agreed to send an additional 55 soldiers to the country to boost security efforts as part of the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan.

Denmark’s biggest bank, Danske, was hit with new allegations of money laundering  -according to Berlingske the bank has been used to circumvent sanctions against the Iranian regime.

North Korea’s ambassador in Stockholm, Kang Yong Dok, who’s also accredited to Denmark, was summoned to a meeting with the Danish Foreign Ministry’s director for foreign affairs, who expressed Denmark’s condemnation of the latest North Korean bomb tests and the country’s illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programme.
To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required)

Social Affairs:

The UN committee on the Rights of the Child published its latest report, including a number of recommendations as to how Denmark can do more for children subjected to violence and sexual abuse.

Thousands of high school and university students took to the streets, Thursday, to protest potential education cutbacks.

A 47-year-old Danish priest was accused of having sex with seven boys and two girls.

Business:

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a conglomerate based in Hangzhou, China, has acquired a majority shareholding in Danish investment bank, Saxo.

Thomas Thune Andersen, the chairman of partially state-owned Dong Energy, the world’s biggest offshore wind developer, dismissed President Trump’s anti-green energy policy as an ‘empty threat’ -  Dong is to change its name to Orsted to reflect its move away from coal and oil and towards renewable energy.

Despite the economic upswing a new report based on feedback from 150,000 businesses shows only 30% made a profit in 2016.
And That Was The Week That Was, October 2nd– October 8th 2017: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required)

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