Greenland tops report on risk areas
The Danish Defence Intelligence Service released its annual risk assessment report on Friday, making Greenland the top priority on its agenda, overhauling traditional focus areas such as cybercrime and terrorism. “This change has taken place relatively quickly. 11 years ago, the Arctic was not even mentioned, and now it’s suddenly of the highest importance,” said Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, a researcher of security policy in the Arctic at the Royal Danish Defence College, to TV2.
One reason for this rise in importance is that major powers such as the United States, Russia and China are very much interested in the area. The United States is concerns are about Russia’s ability to attack the Thule Air base and China’s alleged desire to gain control over important Greenland resources and critical infrastructure through investments. “A very large part of Denmark’s foreign and security policy is about going where Americans look,” Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen commented.
No clear solution to the Arctic threat from the government
Defence Minister Trine Bramsen said that no final plan has been developed regarding a strengthened Danish military presence in Greenland as of yet. However, the US is pushing for an expansion, having suggested permanently stationing Danish fighter aircraft in Greenland – the US ambassador to Denmark encouraged the purchase of more F-35 planes.
But Bramsen does not intend to oblige at this time. “In the short run, we’re not considering sending fighter planes to Greenland. It is not the solution to the challenges we’re facing right now,” she said to BT. When asked about possible solutions, she didn’t go into any specifics. “I don’t want to say anything more concrete about it. Sending fighter planes is just not what we intend to do. But we’ll look into how we can strengthen our overview in the area.”
New cybersecurity military service launches next February
Thursday, Danish Defence opened registration for a new line in compulsory military service: a cyber-defence program, which former defence minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen announced in April this year.
The program stretches over 10 months with the first four dedicated to regular military service – in one of the three military branches in the country – while the following 18 weeks are reserved for IT and cyber training. This comes as a response to an increase in cyber threats targeting Denmark.
“We can see that the cyber challenge has become a significantly larger portion in the big picture regarding threats. We witness, on a daily basis, attacks targeting Danish authorities, companies, and infrastructure. That’s why we need to be quick building an even stronger cyber defence,” said defence minister Trine Bramsen.
The plan is to admit 30 cyber-security officers each year divided into two teams. The first team begins military service in February 2020 and moves on to the cyber part of the program in June in Fredericia.
Marcus Knuth leaves Venstre for Konservative
Friday morning, Marcus Knuth announced that he is switching from Venstre to Det Konservative Folkeparti. “For me, politics is about fighting for the Denmark I love. That’s why today I made a very difficult decision.”
Writing his relationship to party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, Knuth mentioned differing opinions: “we do not always have the same attitudes, especially when it comes to values and foreign policy.” He wants to see a tighter foreign policy and declared that “my top priority in politics is the fight for Danish culture, values and safety. I fear that if we don’t stand firm now, we’ll end up like Sweden”.
This departure is perhaps also a result of an internal conflict in Venstre, and a sign that Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has come out on top.
“This is not a time to put value politics and more austerity on the shelf. We are far from the finish line. We have still not solved Denmark’s growing problems with parallel communities, integration and lawless immigrant gangs. And yes, we have to be able to talk openly and critically about Islam’s role in society, like we have to hold on to Denmark being based on free, Christian values” wrote Knuth, previous integration and alien affairs spokesman for Venstre.
Battery-powered trains to be put to the test in one year
In late 2020 and early 2021, Denmark will test battery-driven trains for the very first time. The trial period will take place on two lines: between Helsingør and Hillerød in North Zealand, and on the Lemvig Line on Jutland. The Ministry of Transportation calls this a win for the environment. “Not only can battery trains reduce Denmark’s CO2 emissions, but they also create the basis for better transportation. Battery trains could become an important part of the future of train operation in Denmark,” said Benny Engelbrecht, minister of transportation.
These trains have already been tested in Austria and Germany. During the Danish testing, suppliers will have the opportunity to present their trains in daily operation before any commitment to a purchase is made. “I hope that from the mid-2020s we will see battery trains operating in Denmark,” the minister told DR.
Delay of light rail will cost Odense 180 million kroner
The new light rail in Odense will be delayed by eight months, setting the municipality back by millions. A recently published document from the Odense City Council’s October 13 meeting includes a new date for the completion of the light rail: September 1, 2021. The exact price of the delay has been set at 180 million kroner. As a result, the total cost of the project has risen from 3.399 billion to 3.579 billion.
To find the main hindrance in the process, look to Thomas B. Thriges Street. Here, a delay in the construction of a parking basement is forcing the light rail people to halt proceedings. And who will pay all that money? Well you, residents of Odense: Odense Kommune will have to dig deep into its wallet this time. “This is a significant expenditure using the reserves set aside by the Municipality of Odense. We use about half of the reserves on this,” Stefan Birkebjerg Andersen, municipal clerk in Odense, told TV2.