Morning Briefing – Thursday, November 21

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

Reports: development minister to step down
There are widespread reports this morning that the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (R), will step down today. Although the resignation has yet be confirmed by the Foreign Ministry, Bach reportedly cut short a meeting in Israel yesterday, saying he had to deal with "a political matter" back in Denmark. Hans Jørgen Nygaard, the Radikale chapter leader in Bach’s district, has told media that Bach expressed his intention to step down after new irregularities emerged in the budgets of GGGI, a South Korea-based climate group that receives funding from Bach’s ministry. “He told me that he’s on his way home to explain something about GGGI,” Nygaard said. “I don’t know more.”

SEE RELATED: Climate organisation's future uncertain after media frenzy

Third of SocDem mayors fail in re-election bids
With all 98 mayors now identified after Tuesday’s local elections, it has become clear that despite losing just 1.2 percent of overall votes on all local elections, a third of Socialdemokraterne (S) mayors lost their bids for re-election. The party now holds the highest office in 35 councils, down from 49. Venstre now holds most mayors’ offices, with 48. S lost races in councils that have long been solidly Socialdemokraterne and now many are warning that the losses are a reaction the long list of unpopular reforms pushed through by the S-led national government. While S representatives in parliament described the losses as an unfortunate consequence of necessary reforms, Venstre said that its increased power at the local level meant it would be easier to implement the party’s policies, even though it was in opposition in parliament. – Jyllands-Posten 

SEE RELATED: Opposition strengthened nationally following local elections

Far-left blocking budget, FM says
After another round of budget talks on Wednesday failed to produce results, the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (S) is now warning Enhedslisten that its continually increasing demands are preventing the budget from being passed. Corydon pointed out that the budget includes more money for key Enhedslisten issues, such as eldercare, the environment and efforts to prevent employers from underpaying foreign workers. Corydon said the government had acceded to Enhedslisten’s demands in a number of areas, but now the party is asking for more. “Enhedslisten won’t agree to getting these things done,” he said. – DR Nyheder

SEE RELATED: 2014 budget to focus on public-sector investment

Spymaster draws back curtain after Norway revelations
Seeking to head off any potential revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with US spy agency NSA turned whistleblower, the external intelligence agency Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE) is revealing details of its operations long held as deep secrets. Thomas Ahrenkiel, the head of FE, a part of the Defence Ministry, indicated that the organisation's operations are focused mostly on areas where Danish troops were deployed, and that collection efforts were targeted primarily against telephone communications. Snowden recently released information about Norway’s co-operation with the NSA, and Ahrenkiel said he fully expected similar revelations about FE’s own collaboration with the Americans. “This is why we want to say now that we’re not taking part in massive American surveillance efforts against Danish mobile telephone traffic,” he said. – Politiken 

SEE RELATED: Spymaster: NSA not eavesdropping on US

Editorial Excerpt | A march to the right
The election’s lesson should be that you shouldn’t take voter support for granted. Even though the election moved Denmark to the right, Venstre and its allies need to continue to work to regain voter trust. With [PM] Thorning-Schmidt tempted to call an early election in January, there’s no time to lose for Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre’s leader) and his lieutenants to get down to business. If not now, then when? – Berlingske 

SEE RELATED: Enhedslisten flexes new muscle while PM's party defies the polls

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