Last Week in Denmark (22.10 - 29.10) Episode 41 Year 3
Venstre-madness; Banks in a gold rush; Medicine shortage
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Danish Politics HQ
Law proposals and ideas
The law proposal on blasphemy has been amended: Earlier this autumn, it was proposed that you should not be able to desecrate objects of religious importance; for example, burn the Bible in front of an embassy. Since then, the draft of the law has changed. Here are the main changes:
It only applies to writings of religious importance. (Before, it was all objects of religious importance).
It only applies to religious communities that are recognized under the “Religious Communities Act”. (Before, it was all religious communities, regardless of whether they were recognized or not).
Works of art will be protected from the blasphemy law.
The law will be re-evaluated after three years.
Four political parties from the opposition launch a plan to save the marine environment off the coasts of Denmark: According to Pelle Dragsted (leader of Enhedslisten - Red/Green Alliance) “the main reason our seas are dying is the discharge of manure from agriculture”. Together with Radikale Venstre (Social Liberals), Alternativet (Greens), and SF (Socialists), they launched a nine point plan on how to save the marine environment. As you can imagine, the focus of the plan is on agriculture. To mention a few of the measures (ban on spraying and fertilizing around all open watercourses and coastal areas; the annual nitrogen discharge to the aquatic environment must not exceed 38,000 tonnes in 2027; and a buyback program where the government can buy agricultural land from areas that pollute the coastal areas).
The political arena
The leader of Venstre (Liberals) and Vice Prime Minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, has said goodbye to Danish politics: Jakob’s comeback has been short; it has been fewer than three months since his return from the eight-month-long sick leave. After struggling to recover Venstre’s support in the opinion polls and without any noticeable achievements in his work as a minister, he decided to resign from all his positions, effective immediately.
Venstre is currently at 8.7% in the opinion polls (the lowest it has been historically). When Jakob became the leader of the party in 2019, they had 24.6%.
The traditional Venstre voter group has been split between Moderaterne (Lars Løkke Rasmussen - former Venstre leader and prime minister), Danmarks Demokraterne (Inger Støjberg - former Venstre vice-leader and minister), and Venstre.
With Jakob’s exit, the political dinasty Ellemann-Jensen says goodbye to Danish politics. They have been in the Danish Parliament since 1964, when Jakob’s grandfather (Jens Peter Jensen) got elected. His father has also been the leader of Venstre (Uffe Ellemann-Jensen) and his sister (Karen) has been in Parliament for 15 years before she got the job as Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The new leader of Venstre (Liberals) will be Troels Lund Poulsen, the current Minister of Defense: A new leader will be elected at the party congress on 18-19 November. However, everyone is already pointing towards the only candidate, Troels Lund Poulsen.
Former leader of Venstre Ungdom (the young liberals).
Minister of Environment at 31 years old in the Anders Fogh Rasmussen government (2007). That’s when he got the nickname “Traktor-Troels”. Why? He loves big agricultural machines from John Deere.
In 2010, he got an expensive watch (exclusive Rolex) from an oil sheikh (Qatar). Public officials are not allowed to receive big gifts (nothing more than a bottle of wine or books), so he had to return the gold watch. However, he got another nickname, “Trolex”.
He was suspected in 2011 of having leaked the confidential tax papers of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. After a very long investigation, he was acquitted. However, the matter is far from solved, according to Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Traditionally, the leader of Venstre is also the Prime Minister candidate. However, Troels points out the low opinion polls and dismisses any intention to become Prime Minister at the next election round.
The popular regional leader from South Denmark, Stephanie Lose, will join the government: Stephanie will resign from her position as president of the South Denmark Region and go into the government as a minister (we don’t know yet which position - defense or economy). She regrets that she had to end her regional mandate earlier than expected and apologizes to the 147,485 people who voted for her directly. She will also be a candidate to continue as the vice-leader of Venstre.
Five young leaders of Venstre (Liberals) launched a book that outlines their take on the future of the welfare state: Marie Bjerre (37 years old, Minister of Equality and Digitalization); Morten Dahlin (34 years old, political speaker for Venstre); Linea Søgaard-Lidell (36 years old, member of the Danish Parliament); Mads Duedahl (39 years old, leader of the North Denmark region) and Christoffer Lilleholt (28 years old, city councilman Odense) want to reform the welfare state. Among the proposals in the book, you can find that we should have nuclear power plants in Denmark; SU should become a loan; reform of the housing benefit and the children’s check; and the legalization of Uber in Denmark.
The red-blue center government is struggling in the opinion polls: Only 37.4% of the people in Denmark would vote for one of the government parties (Socialdemokratiet, Venstre, or Moderaterne). 2.1% lower than in August and the worst result since the elections last autumn.
Socialdemokratiet (Social Democrats) is losing voters to SF (Socialists). The social democrats support has declined by 7.7% since the elections, while the socialists support has increased by 5.8%.
Venstre (Liberals) is losing voters to Liberal Alliance (Libertarians). The liberal support has declined by 4% since the elections, while the libertarian support has increased by 5.2%.
Danish Economy HQ
Good signs from the European Central Bank for home owners and other people with variable loans: For the first time in more than a year, the European Central Bank has decided not to further increase the interest rate. The interest rate remains at 4%. Since July 2022, the European Central Bank has increased the interest rate ten times.
While the growth has stopped, there is no prospect that interest rates will be lowered in the near future. Economists from Nykredit and Arbejdernes Landsbank predict that interest rates will start falling in the summer of 2024.
After the energy companies, now banks are having a gold rush: Danske Bank’s expected profit this year: 20 billion DKK; Nordea’s expected profit: 37 billion DKK. The banks are making money from the sky-high interest rates. How? The country's banks and financial institutions have an account at Danmarks Nationalbank (Denmark's National Bank), where they can deposit amounts and/or withdraw from. They get paid an interest rate of 3.6%. So basically, they are using the money you have deposited with them to make money. They may give you an interest rate of 1% (if you are lucky), while they keep the rest.
For example, if you have 50,000 DKK in your bank account, you will get 500 DKK at a 1% interest rate. However, the bank will receive 1800 DKK from the national bank, so they get to keep 1300 DKK. Try the calculator here to see how much money your bank is making with your money.
Of course, the banks are also making good money when they lend to you. So their revenues have increased from every direction. It’s a good time to start an online bank like Lunar or Revolut.
The Business Minister is encouraging the population to ask the banks to raise the interest rates they provide on deposits and, if they refuse, to switch to another bank. There are 60 banks in Denmark.
The main idea is that if you have money in your bank account, now it’s time to look into savings options.
35 billion DKK investment from DSV (Danish logistics and transport company) into the city of the future, Neom: The city is built in the desert of Saudi Arabia, and it’s planned to host up to nine million people. They expect the city to be ready in 2029, in time for the Asian Winter Games.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark invited companies from Denmark to bid for tasks in building the city of Neom.
Novo Nordisk is the company with the best image in Denmark: After six years of uninterrupted dominance from Lego, Novo Nordisk has obtained the title of the company with the best image in Denmark. The top 3 is completed with Lego in 2nd place and AP Møller-Mærsk in third place.
Daily Life in Denmark HQ
The extreme weather conditions from last weekend convinced the Natural Disasters Council (Naturskaderådet) to expand the area in danger of storm surge: If you are in the storm surge risk area and you have damages from the extreme storm last weekend, you can apply for compensation from the Nature Damage Fund (Naturskadepuljen).
The storm also destroyed part of the stairs at Møns Klint, making it more difficult to access the natural treasure. It will be a long and expensive process until the stairs will be rebuilt.
Healthcare with Punitha Kumar
Doctors are claiming that patients taking the weight loss drug Wegovy are occupying the majority of consultation hours, leaving them with insufficient time to see other patients, Jyllands-Posten reports. Practicing Doctors' Organization chairman Jørgen Skadborg said the medicine has gained significant popularity in Denmark, leading to a sudden increase in workload. As patients require frequent blood tests and follow-ups, it has become challenging to allocate time for other patients, he said. According to the newspaper, 86,000 Danes were prescribed Wegovy from January to August this year.
If a medicine is on backorder or its alternatives are not available, that information should be made available to doctors before they write a prescription, the Danish Medical Association says. In a DR report, association chairman Anna Nathan said a technical solution is needed so that both doctors and their patients do not go back and forth in searching for a medicine that is not available at the pharmacy. Doctors have complained that they have had to write up to five new prescriptions daily as patients return, saying the medicine is unavailable, while pharmacist Birgitte Carlsen said her staff spends around five hours daily navigating frustrated customers and explaining about backorders and alternative options.
Cumin has been taken off supermarket shelves due to high levels of carcinogens, the Danish Food and Drug Administration has said. According to DR, the authorities have also called upon consumers who have recently bought cumin to either discard it or return it to the stores from which it was purchased. The spice is being recalled as it contains a high content of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be harmful if consumed often and over long periods. The substance is also known to increase cancer risks. View the full list of all the recalled cumin products from Netto, Føtex, or Bilka here.
This section is curated by Cicek Eris. If you have events you want us to include here please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out her newsletter about cultural events in Denmark here.
Online, 31st Oct, 13:00-14:30: Elevate your Linkedin profile and get recruiters’ attention with this online event by the International Employment Unit of the city of Aarhus.
Copenhagen, 1st Nov, 17:00-18:30: If you’ve been trying to find an English-language book club, the one hosted by Lyngby Library might be what you’re looking for. Over the next five months the library will be providing books from Irish literature for the club. Don’t forget to register.
Online, 2nd Nov, 09:30-11:00: International Employment Unit also brings you a “Job Interviews - How to Ace Them” presentation which will help you prepare for job interviews.
Odense, 7th Nov, 09:00-11:00: If you are an accompanying partner to an international, and you wish to learn more about job searching in Denmark, you can join International Community Odense’s Job Search Seminar. Seminars will be held every Tuesday until 12 December. First one starts on 7 November. You are free to sign up for whichever session you would like, so check the link for details.
International media about Denmark HQ
Powerful Storm Hits Northern Europe, Killing at Least 4 People (Time)
This 30-year-old left the U.S. for Denmark -5 things she still misses about America (CNBC)
Denmark Aims a Wrecking Ball at “Non-Western” Neighborhoods (New York Times)
Stock Games 2023 with Andreea Bianca Pascalau Buza
Taking a break due to sickness.
Last Week in Denmark's Universe
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