Morning Briefing – Tuesday, August 13

The Copenhagen Post’s daily digest of what the Danish press is reporting

Great meatball debate rolls on
Statements by the prime minister yesterday that schools should serve pork products, even though Muslim students cannot eat them, are unlikely to have an effect, say local and school officials. School menus are determined at the school level, where the primary consideration is what students want to eat. “The way we do it now, food isn’t a problem,” said Lars Klingenberg, the head of Forældrenes Landsforening, the national parents’ association. He described a system in which parents, cooking staff and school employees all worked together to set a school menu. Instead of focusing on menus, he said the PM should work to improve childcare funding. – Jyllands-Posten

Economic stimulus – no
Against the advice of a majority of economists, the government is expected to unveil a proposed 2014 budget in the coming weeks that includes a significant easing of fiscal policy. The far-left Enhedslisten, whose votes will be necessary to pass the budget, is unsatisfied with the pace of growth and is expected to call for increased stimulus efforts. Economists, however, say a rebound is on the way and that extra spending would be unnecessary. – Berlingske Business

Economic stimulus – yes
Hans Jørgen Whitta-Jacobsen, the head of government-seated advisory panel De Økonomiske Råd, agrees with the consensus among economists that the economy could be brightening (see above), but dissents from the majority opinion that new stimulus efforts were unnecessary. Whitta-Jacobsen calculated the government had room to spend as much as 12 billion kroner on stimulus efforts, and warned against anything that would reduce the amount of money used to help shore up the economy. “We haven’t seen anything that changes our fiscal policy recommendations,” he said. – Børsen

Regional councils in municipal crosshairs
Just six years after they came into existence, the nation’s five regional councils appear to be losing support among mayors. Regional councils were created in 2007 by a merger of the 16 counties that existed at the time. Their primary task is to manage healthcare, but 31 of the nation’s 98 mayors say local councils could accomplish that and the other regional council tasks more efficiently. Roger Buch, a political scientist specialising in local politics, pointed out that the ageing population would add to the cost and of providing healthcare in the years to come, and questioned why councils would want to take on that burden. Twenty-two mayors said they were in favour of keeping regional councils. Another 35 declined to answer. – Politiken

Doping hunters: bring amateur steroid use into the light
Anti-doping authorities say the best way to approach the “growing problem” of recreational athletes using performance-enhancing drugs is to establish clinics that can dispense clean needles and offer counselling. Anti-Doping Denmark said establishing such clinics based on a model used in the UK would allow the agency to “engage, rather than judge” the estimated 50,000 Danes who use steroids or other illegal substances. Parliament is currently considering increasing the sentence for performance-enhancing drug use to six years. – DR Nyheder

Early Christmas gift for commuters
Commuters between Copenhagen and the outlying town of Hillerød will be permitted to use the hard shoulder as a travel lane during rush hour starting this December, Vejdirektoratet, the national road agency, has announced. Hard-shoulder driving has already been implemented in several other countries where it has proved to be an effective way to reduce congestion. Denmark’s trial will run until 2017 and if successful hard-shoulder driving will be expanded to other stretches of road.