Danish News in Brief: Politician busted for driving on cocaine

Elsewhere, the UK is looking to bottle it as Poland and Tunisia dig in their heels

Jakob Engel-Schmidt, a politician and member of Parliament for government party Venstre, has revealed he was busted for driving under the influence of cocaine last year.

Engel-Schmidt, who was fined and had his driver’s licence suspended for three years over the incident, has stepped down from his position as head of the Niels Brock school as a result of his transgression.

“I’ve messed up seriously – and I’m ashamed,” he wrote on Facebook.

“In July last year I made the biggest mistake of my life. I was stopped by the police due to a broken car light and gave a blood test that showed that I shouldn’t have been behind the wheel as I had illegal drugs in my blood – it was cocaine. It was utterly unacceptable.”

Engel-Schmidt, 34, who was an MP when he was pulled over last year, opted to take a hiatus from Parliament on September 7, the day after tabloid Ekstra Bladet began digging into the case.

According to various news reports today, Venstre is looking to replace Engel-Schmidt with someone else, and his political career, which once looked so promising, seems to be teetering precariously on the precipice of ruin.

UK eyes Danish bottle recycling system
According to an article in the BBC, advisors to the British government are recommending that the country adopts a bottle recycling system similar to the ‘pant’ system used in Denmark and other Nordic countries. Figures showed that 98 percent of all bottles are recycled using the pant system in Norway, and it is estimated that implementing the same system will not prove overly difficult for the UK. In the UK, only around half of all plastic bottles are recycled.

Tunisia shoots down Socialdemokratiet’s asylum plan
Socialdemokratiet’s plan to have asylum-seekers apply at centres in north Africa, instead of in Denmark, has hit a snag this week after Tunisia refused to play a part. Tunisia’s embassy in the Netherlands, which is also responsible for affairs in Denmark, told DR Nyheder it was unequivocally against any ideas that would lead to refugee camps or centres in Tunisian territory.

No prison time for burka breach
Those breaching the burka law will not have to spend time in prison after all, according to the government’s new burka ban proposal. Unveiled today, the proposal no longer included the part about perpetrators facing prison time, as was stipulated in pre-proposal drafts. Instead, those who fail to adhere to the law will face a fine of 1,000 kroner, whilst subsequent offences will result in fines of 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 kroner. It will be up to the police to ascertain whether someone’s face is covered.

Polish border dispute hinders pipeline
An unresolved border dispute between Denmark and Poland in the Baltic Sea is hampering the completion of the 12 billion kroner Baltic Pipe connection. The two nations are scheduled to commence negotiations regarding the border sometime next week, according to the Foreign Ministry. Baltic Pipe is set to transport natural gas from the North Sea across Denmark through the Baltic Sea and into Poland. The pipeline will be jointly owned by the two countries. Previously, the border dispute has also impacted the Russian-owned Nord Stream gas connection.

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