Last Week in Denmark (06.02 - 13.02) Episode 5 Year 2
Houses are getting cheaper! Jobs in real estate; Support for heating; Ukraine updates
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Danish Politics HQ
The political game
Latest opinion poll (6th February 2022)
Red parties: Social Democrats (24% - the lowest since 2016); Social Liberals RV (7,2%), Socialists SF (9,2%), Red-Green Alliance Ø (9,1%) = 50,8%
Blue parties: Liberals Venstre (14,8%), Conservatives (16,1%), Nationalists DF (6,2%), Libertarian Nationalists NB (5,4%), Liberal Alliance (2,8%), Christian Democrats KD (1,8%) = 47,1%
New ministers: After the transport minister, Benny Engelbrecht resigned last week, the government made some ministerial changes. Trine Bramsen moved from Defense to Transport. Morten Bødskov moved from Tax to Defense and Jeppe Bruus became the new tax minister.
The new tax minister will discuss with the red parties the taxes on hybrid cars. At the moment, hybrid cars are considered “green” cars and benefit from lower taxation. A recent report showed that hybrid cars are just as bad as petrol cars.
DF’s ultimatum for the blue parties: Even though DF is a blue party, they made demands to support a potential blue government - leave the human rights international conventions and less involvement of Denmark within the European Union and United Nations.
Two parties (Red-Green Alliance and Alternativet) no longer support the agreement to move 1000 higher education places from the four big cities (Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense) to other municipalities. However, this doesn’t change the plans as there still is a majority for the agreement.
The blue parties are no longer against the “worker shortage reform” proposed by the government. This means that the proposals we presented in an earlier edition of this newsletter will pass in the Danish Parliament. However, they still don’t support the idea of a higher unemployment rate in the first three months and a higher tax deduction for trade union membership fees. Also, they want non-EU workers to be able to obtain work permits on a smaller salary (under 375,000 dkk per year) with the exception of Muslim non-EU workers.
Forced adoptions: In the last two years, 59 children have been adopted without permission from their parents. This takes place when the parents suffer from severe personality disorders, long-term drug abuse and inability to care for themselves. Thus, the parent(s) are unable to provide the required care for the child. The Danish media has exposed an underground network that helps mothers, who have been informed that they can not keep their baby, to flee to Poland or Germany.
High school strikes for sex education: The union of Danish gymnasium students organized strikes to request the introduction of sex education in the curriculum. They argue that the sex education from “folkeskole” is not enough.
New laws and strategies
New rules for working from home: The government made an agreement with the opposition aka blue parties (Venstre, DF, Konservative) regarding the working environment rules at home. The new rules apply from the 1st of May 2022.
The “special screen rules” say that you can use your desk, chair and computer from home if it meets requirements. Otherwise, the employer must provide you with a desk, chair and computer.
Until now, the “special screen rules” were activated only if you worked more than 2 days per week at home. From now on, the “special screen rules” must be ensured if you work at least one day per week at home.
The new rules have been criticized by HK (office workers trade union) as now the employers might request the employees to invest in home offices if they want to work from home.
New law against pedophilia: Stronger punishment for child abuse; convicted pedophiles will not be able to travel outside of Denmark and a ban on sex dolls that look like children. The Danish parliament passed the law in unanimity.
New pesticide strategy: The government announced a new five-year pesticide strategy that will strengthen the protection of groundwater, biodiversity and aquatic environments. 368 million dkk will be spent to implement the new strategy. Aims - Reduce with 27% the use of agricultural pesticides; Fewer pesticides with glyphosate; Stronger control of illegal pesticides.
Future tax on CO2 emissions: An expert group presented three proposals for a future carbon tax. The purpose? Make it more expensive to emit CO2 and push the economy towards greener alternatives. Reduce greenhouse emissions by 70% until 2030.
Changes to CV’s: The government proposed that employers should be prohibited from requiring your age information when you apply for jobs. If it passes, then you no longer should mention your age in the CV (in case you do that now).
Danish Economy HQ
Support for the heating bill: 320,000 households (with a yearly income under 550,000 dkk) will receive a one-time check of 3750 dkk. You qualify if you are using a gas boiler; if you are connected to district heating mainly based on gas or if you use heat pumps or electric radiators. If you qualify you will receive the check automatically.
The prices keep rising: According to Statistics Denmark, the prices have increased by 4,3% in January compared to the same month in 2021. This is the highest price increase since August 2008. However, goods and services didn’t get equally more expensive - with energy and petrol prices going way above that. Life is getting more expensive in Denmark - keep that in mind when you negotiate your salary increase this year.
Housing market is stable: Since the second half of 2021,house prices have begun to decrease. The trend continues in 2022. The demand for houses has decreased as the “great pandemic migration from city apartments” has ended. However, the prices for apartments are on the rise (either people are returning to the cities or more are investing their economies in properties).
Salary insurance: Over 400,000 people in Denmark have “lønforsikring” salary insurance. This is extra to the a-kasse unemployment insurance. Why? To get more money when you become unemployed. For some, the move from salary to unemployment benefits can mean a drop of 50% in income. With extra salary insurance, the drop will be much lower.
Opportunity for entrepreneurs: Apply for the NextStep grant and receive 75% back out of 25,000 dkk spent on competence development. Conditions? To have a CVR number registered after 2016 and to have growth ambitions of at least 500,000 dkk in revenue over the next two years.
Record year for investments in green technology: According to PwC report “State of Climate Tech”, 2021 has been a record year. Almost 100 billion euros have been invested in green tech start-ups last year. 210% more than in 2020. Keep that in mind for your next venture.
9,000 people are needed in the real estate industry: According to “EjendomDanmark”, there is a need for 9,000 new employees in the real estate industry in the next 10 years. If you are interested in the field, check out this website.
Copenhagen vs. Nemlig: The municipality of Copenhagen has ended the collaboration with Nemlig.com. Why? The low wage and bad working conditions for the Nemlig employees.
Daily Life in Denmark HQ
World’s safest city in 2021: Copenhagen ranked first in “Safe Cities Index” made by The Economist. Why? It had the best scores on 76 indicators related to different aspects of urban safety (personal, health, infrastructure, digital and environment).
Five Oscar nominations for Danish films: The animated documentary “Flugt” has been nominated for best-animated film, best documentary and best International film. “Flugt” makes Oscar history as the first documentary to have so many nominations. You can watch “Flugt” here. Also, the film “On my mind” has been nominated for best short film and the photographer Dan Laustsen for the work in the film “Nightmare Alley”.
Focus on climate change
National day of legumes: 10th of February has been declared the national day of legumes. Why? We only eat an average of 2 grams of legumes daily. Far from the recommended 100 grams. The idea is to encourage people to eat more legumes.
Denmark’s wildest municipality: All the 98 municipalities in Denmark are competing for the title of having the wildest nature in Denmark. Grass areas and gravel pits will be turned into wild nature sanctuaries. The best biodiversity project will be declared winner at the end of 2022.
The coast area of Denmark is under threat: According to a report from COWI, nature in coastal regions is in danger. The repeated saltwater floods will irreversibly damage the natural habitats on the beaches.
Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy: European scientists have made significant progress on the path to develop practical nuclear fusion energy - the energy that powers the stars.
The Ringsted espionage case: Three Iranians from Ringsted spied for Saudi Arabia on over 100 people and organizations for years. The spies monitored the targets and their interactions with others. Some of the people were listed as “enemies of Saudi Arabia”. The group is part of the “Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz” and wants independence of Ahwaz from Iran.
Progress for people with autism in Esbjerg: 45,000 people in Denmark have autism. This is a developmental disorder, which means that they experience the world differently and have difficulties with socialization. For two years now, Esbjerg municipality has run a 12-week course for people with autism to help them understand their condition and how to still be a part of society. Now, the civil society is asking for a similar offer in all municipalities.
Free psychological help for the elderly in Copenhagen: If you are over 65 years old and you live in Copenhagen municipality, you can benefit from free psychological help.
The homes in Copenhagen are safer: According to Copenhagen Police, the number of burglaries has fallen by 80% in the last 10 years. Why? More police efforts; Citizen night patrols and the fact that burglary is no longer cool for criminals.
A priest from Hedensted is against gay marriage: Young people from the Socialist Youth Front have protested in front of Hedensted church against a priest that doesn’t want to marry gay couples. The law says that same-sex couples can get married in a church since 2012. However, the law also says that priests can say “no” to officiate the ceremony.
European Union HQ
Only 48% of the people in Denmark have recently heard from the European Parliament through Danish media. According to Eurobarometer, Denmark together with Bulgaria and France, are among the EU states that cover the least what happens in the European institutions.
Volunteer for the European Union humanitarian aid operations: If you want to go outside the European Union to help within organizational development and capacity-building, project management, disaster risk management support, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, etc. for a period between 1 to 18 months, apply here.
Volunteer from home for the United Nations: You can write, edit, translate, research, teach, train or do art and design, within “The United Nations Online Volunteering” initiative. Anyone over 18 years old can participate. Just make a profile here.
Also, if you are between 18 and 29 years old, you can become a United Nations Youth Volunteer and work with human rights, climate change adaptation, primary health care, disaster management, peacebuilding, youth engagement or many other areas. Sign up here.
20% of the world’s chips by 2030: The European Commission presented a 43 billion euro investment plan to boost the European production of semiconductors. Semiconductors, also referred to as microchips, can be found in all types of electronic devices from computers, medical equipment, car sensors, to industrial machinery or artificial intelligence.
Meta vs. European Union: The parent company of Facebook and Instagram warned the European institutions that they will close access to European Union citizens if they cannot transfer data from the EU to American servers. However, Facebook and Instagram are already losing users (which devalued company shares by 25%) and such a move will further harm their finances.
World’s story of the week
Weapons for Ukraine: The Danish government promised anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. Unfortunately, they discovered that the promised weapons are too old for usage. Now, Venstre (Liberal Party) is asking the government to look again and maybe find some other weapons to be sent.
Defence preparations: Two F-16 fighter jets will be placed on Bornholm. A Danish combat battalion (700 soldiers) is mobilized in Slagelse to be used in NATO operations.
Stronger ties with allies: Wednesday, prime minister Mette Frederiksen met with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss preparations for a potential war with Russia and collaboration in the field of green transition. Thursday, she announced increased defence cooperation with the United States. This means American troops and military equipment in Denmark. However, nuclear weapons will not be allowed on Danish soil. The Socialists and Red-Green Alliance are against having American troops in Denmark.
EU support for Ukraine: So far, only a few EU states responded to Ukraine’s call for help. Poland has sent military supplies, drones and anti-aircraft missiles. The Czech Republic also sent military supplies. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have sent anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Germany has sent 5000 helmets and 2 billion euros in economic aid. Spain has sent military ships and fighter jets to the Black Sea. Netherlands and Denmark have moved troops to EU countries bordering Ukraine.
Stories from our community
A French entrepreneur from Copenhagen launched the first free to use housing site in Denmark. The site is called GoRoom and you can use it to look for a place to rent or for a roommate. According to Avisen.dk, this AI-powered housing service could be the new AirBnb.
The free service Move North helps qualified workforce to find jobs in Frederikshavn. They are mainly looking after people that have technical skills within the production, process and maritime industry. If you find a match with a job in Frederikshavn, they also help you with finding a job for your spouse, relocation practicalities and other details involved in moving.
Romanian language classes in Skagen: The Romanian community in Skagen (Frederikshavn) has managed to activate the EU rule which says “if 12 children of ages 6 to 16 from the same municipalities request a course in their mother tongue, the municipality shall provide”.