The Week That Was, May 18th – 24th 2020:

Posted on 24. May, 2020 in: TWTW

Coronavirus/ What happened last week:

Following a long day of negotiations ahead of the public holiday, Thursday, the government reached agreement with all parties to speed up the reopening process - ‘places of culture’ including theatres, cinemas zoos, and art galleries, due to stay shut until June 8th, were given the green light to throw open their doors immediately, with distancing restrictions.

The National Serum Institute said the coronavirus rate of transmission (R) had fallen to 0.6, down from 0.7 on May 7, meaning that the outbreak is slowing - around 1% (55,000) of people in this country have contracted the corona virus.

Following a Jyllands Posten review highly critical of the government’s decision-making process ahead of the widespread lockdown in March 11th parties started to question the government’s rush to close down the economy.

Politics/Economy:

A parliamentary majority called for an independent probe into the government’s handling of the corona crisis - the opposition, backed by the Social Liberals, suggested a panel consisting of five experts that would investigate the decision-making process since the virus gripped Denmark in mid-March.

Denmark’s economy virtually collapsed in the first quarter of the year, shrinking by 1.9% in from the last three months of 2019 - the biggest declines were in service industries directly affected by lockdowns, including transport, hotels and restaurants.

Danish exports are in free fall - anew report by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) projected that exports will plummet by at least 13% this year leading to a potential DKK170bhn loss and a knock-on effect for 845,000 related jobs

The government put forward a blueprint for two energy islands, one in the North Sea and one off the cost of Bornholm in the Baltic, as part of its long-awaited plan for how to reduce Denmark’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2020.

Foreign Affairs/EU:

France and Germany’s proposal for a €500bn European Recovery Fund to be shared between EU countries worst affected by Covid-19 was rejected by Denmark - Finance Minister Nikolaj Wammen said Denmark supports loans, not grants, and that hasn’t changed with the latest proposal.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod was given a reprimand for offering outdated and unusable ventilators to help Italy fight the coronavirus – at a parliamentary consultation, Wednesday, the Liberals’ EU spokesman, Jan E. Jørgensen, said when a country in crisis asks for help it’s no use sending a bucket with holes in it.

The US State Department said the recent $12.1m aid package from Washington and the opening of a consulate in Nuuk is only the start of a new Arctic policy.

The corona epidemic, climate, the environment, and cybercrime were high on the agenda during a video conference between the Foreign Ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) - Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden -  on Tuesday.

The regional health authorities asked a Chinese supplier to replace a batch of around 250,000 corona test kits that that were inaccurate

Swedish politicians pleaded with the Danish government to re-open the border - in an open letter to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Philip Sandberg, Mayor of University town Lund, situated less than one hour from Copenhagen, warned that the shared labour market in the Øresund region is on the ‘verge of collapse.’ While Denmark, Norway, and Finland continue to discuss when, and how, to open the border to each other, the ‘Swedish problem’ stands in the way – Sweden has one of the highest death rates from the corona virus in Europe, far higher than its Nordic neighbours who were quick to impose lockdowns.

Denmark’s ’Responsible Business Fund’ donated 50,000 medical grade masks to the vulnerable community in Hlaing Tharyar Township, Myanamar - the government also approved a $2m grant to Uganda in the fight covid-19.

The Danish Business Authority (DBA), part of the Business Ministry, launched an investigation into reports that Danish weapons are contributing to the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

82 Danish nationals are among the 5,380 tourists who joined a class action lawsuit against bars in the Austrian resort of Ischgl and the local authorities who, it’s claimed, prioritised private gain over public health.

Social Affairs:

The rate of corona infection amongst Arab immigrants is considerably less than other ethnic minorities - a new report by the National Serum Institute showed only 23 Syrian nationals had tested positive for the virus two weeks ago, compared to 253 Turks and 167 Pakistani residents.

A former top immigration ministry legal adviser told the Child Brides Commission she personally warned former immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, on the 10th of February 2016 that it would be illegal to order the separation of refugee couples at asylum reception centres if the wife was a minor.

A lawyer acting on behalf of an alleged Danish double agent submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights claiming that Denmark has repeatedly dismissed requests to provide crucial information that would help to acquit 30-year-old Ahmed Samsam, known as one of Spain’s most dangerous terrorists.

Former army head of staff Hans-Christian Mathiesen was given a 60-day suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of violating both civil and military laws by Viborg District Court.

Business:

All foreign shareholders will in future be required to register with the Tax Agency before they can claim a refund of share dividend tax, following a new agreement between the Tax Ministry and The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) to avoid a new tax scam.

Lagkagehuset hit back at tax-avoidance allegations - the fast-growing bakery chain, with over 90 branches in Denmark, England, Paris and New York, has come under fire for receiving DKK4.6m ($650,000) in emergency corona aid from the state even though it’s owned by a company based in Jersey, renowned as a tax-shelter. Seven Danish companies - Synoptik, Sportsmaster, Babysam, Gate Gourmet, Lagkagehuset, Euro Cater, and BC Hospitality Group –  are part of corporate structures designed to avoid paying taxes, yet have received a total of DKK 261m ($38m) from the government’s business aid fund.

Copenhagen Airport (CPH)reported an historically poor 1st quarter (Q1) result despite near normal operations in January and February before the corona crisis gripped the country in mid-March.

Noma, previously voted the best restaurant in the world four times and best known for its ’reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic Cuisine’ with a meal and drinks costing around DKK4,000 per person ($600), will for a limited time offer guests a choice of one of two options – a burger or a burger at DKK125 a pop.

And That Was the Week That Was, May 18th – 24th 2020: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required).

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