Morning Briefing – Wednesday, November 13

The Copenhagen Post’s daily round-up of the front pages and other major Danish news stories

A flip-flop for the good
Outrage over the deportation of a woman and her seven-year-old daughter to their native Thailand after the death of the woman’s Danish husband has led the justice minister to consider a law change that would allow their return. Morten Bødskov (S) had admitted that the deportation was an unintended consequence of immigration legislation but staunchly rejected intervening in the deportation, arguing that it would open the door to having to do the same each time a law appeared to be unfair. After being challenged by the opposition, which crafted Denmark’s get-tough immigration legislation while it was in power in the 2000s, Bødskov says he will put forward a bill to change the law retroactively, provided that all of parliament’s parties support the move. – Politiken

SEE RELATED: 7-year-old deported after losing immigration battle

Spymaster: NSA not eavesdropping on US
The head of FE, the external espionage agency, says he does not believe the Americans have an intelligence collection effort against Denmark. The rare public announcement by an FE chief comes amid mounting allegations that Denmark, included in the US electronic spy agency NSA’s inner circle of partners, is also being spied on by the same organisation. The possibility of a computer attack, according to Thomas Ahrenkiel, was the nation’s biggest external threat at the moment, but its list of countries seeking to gather information here did not include US intelligence agencies. Ahrenkiel’s statement comes in conjunction with the release of FE’s annual threat assessment today. – Berlingske

SEE RELATED: More questions than answers on Denmark's place in NSA scandal

Copenhagen, capital of taxation
The capital reigns supreme among councils when it comes taxing businesses, according to statistics released today by Cepos, a libertarian think-tank. In Copenhagen, a typical 5,000 square metre retail space is assessed 1.68 million kroner in taxes each year, 200 times more than nation’s lowest rates. Fredikersberg, an enclave within Copenhagen, ranked second, charging about 1 million kroner, and Gentofte, bordering Copenhagen on the north, was third, charging 561,000 kroner. In all, 21 out of the 28 councils making up Greater Copenhagen charge the maximum tax rate allowed by national law. While councils with the lowest rates tended to be rural areas without the draw of a Copenhagen postal code, other comparable cities had far lower tax rates. In Odense, listed by Cepos as an example, the example retail space would be assessed 70,000 kroner in taxes annually. – Berlingske Business

SEE RELATED: Task force to improve city's business climate releases proposals

Study: keep the reforms coming
The barrage of reforms passed by the Socialdemkraterne-led government since coming to power in 2011 is unlikely to be enough to shore up the social-welfare system as intended. The reforms will likely be successful in forcing more people off benefits and into work, but the growth in the number of senior citizens will outstrip job-force growth, according to Dream, an economic analysis firm. The reforms, which saw their genesis under the previous government, are projected to have an effect, but without further changes Denmark will exceed the current 3 percent EU budget deficit limit by 2025. Dream forecast that the government would need to find an additional 28 billion kroner annually – the equivalent of expanding the workforce by180,000 individuals – in order to fund projected welfare spending needs after 2025. “There is no doubt that we will need more reforms in the years to come,” Dream wrote about its findings. – Børsen

SEE RELATED: Government turns attention to growth bill after wrapping up reforms

Editorial Excerpt | Bring the girl back home
Anyone can see the deep brutality and utter meaninglessness of adding insult to injury [by deporting a dead man’s surviving immigrant wife and step-daughter]. No-one in their right mind would claim that deporting the two improves national cohesion. When challenged about the deportation, everyone representing the system, from PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) on downwards, puts on a serious face and express their regret that nothing can be done. They maintain that laws can’t be passed retroactively. Nonsense. Of course the political system can do something to eliminate a fully unintended consequence of a law. Of course we’re not obliged to live with this type of social brutality. Of course we can show compassion to our fellow man. We just need to do it. – Politiken 

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