International News in Brief: If only Germany could be as excited about the Fehmarn Tunnel as Norway!

Elsewhere, the complaints don’t stop with Turkey miffed with Denmark, the Nordics cheesed off with Russia and a Danish Jehovah Witness wondering when the hell his trial will take place

For as long as we can remember, the Danes and the Germans have been championing the cause of the Fehmarn link – a transport connection between the Danish island of Lolland and the German northern coast, which will substantially improve trade and travel possibilities – and now a Norwegian newspaper has joined the chorus.

Dagbladet has run an article entitled “The gigantic project that wants to change Europe” in which it sets out the benefits the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel could bring to the entire Nordic region.

300 times as many complaints in Germany!
According to the current plans, work will begin on the seabed near Lolland in 2020, and the 18 km link, complete with four road lanes and two rail tracks, could open in 2028. It will reduce the rail travel time from Copenhagen to Hamburg from 270 to 150 minutes.

The plans, though, are still subject to permission from the German authorities. While there have only been 42 objections in Denmark, where everything has been green-lighted, there have been 12,600 in Germany.

In total, it will cost 55 billion Danish kroner.

Turkey artefact demand would set “bad” precedent, argues Danish museum
The David Collection, a museum of fine and applied art located on Kronprinsessegade in central Copenhagen, is resisting calls from Turkey to return artefacts that originate in the southeastern European country. Overall, Turkey wants 150,000 items returned from western museums, and a delegation visited the David Collection in February. The museum’s director, Kjeld von Folsach, told Politiken the return was a “really bad idea” as it would set a bad precedent in which “French art can only be experienced in France etc”. Turkey previously asked the museum for its artefacts in 2013.

Learning about ageing population healthcare issues on Asia trip
The health minister, Ellen Trane Nørby, is visiting Vietnam, China and Japan this week to learn more about how the countries are coping with steadily increasing ageing populations. Healthcare faces a much bigger burden, particularly in the treatment of chronic diseases such as arthritis, and Nørby will be learning from Vietnam and China’s experiences, along with furthering Denmark’s strategic authority co-operation with the countries in the area of life science. The Japanese trip will include Nørby attending a major patient safety conference in Tokyo.

Russian aggression a major focal point of Nordic defence minister meeting
The Nordic defence ministers have commenced their two-day NORDEFCO meeting in Bergen today, where they will be discussing security challenges facing the region, along with defence co-operation. Recent “Russian aggression” in the Baltic Sea Region will be a major focus, said the Danish defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, ahead of the meeting.

Exports fall for third consecutive month
Danish exports fell for the third consecutive month in February, according to Danmarks Statistik. Following a 0.3 percent slide in January, they decreased by 0.4 percent in February. The downturn is being blamed on a fall in interest among EU countries –  particularly Germany –  and a strong Danish krone. Allan Sørensen, a chief analyst at Dansk Industri, remains optimistic but did concede that the trade war between the US and China could be detrimental if it escalates.

Multiple postponements for Jehovah’s Witness on trial in Russia
The court case of a Dane awaiting trial in the city of Oryol in central Russia for being a Jehovah’s Witness keeps on getting postponed. Dennis Christensen, 45, was arrested last May in a raid during a worship ceremony in Oryol. It followed a Supreme Court ruling a month earlier that formally bans the religious organisation and identifies its members as religious extremists.

Danish man robbed and shot in leg in town outside Kenyan capital
A Danish man was shot in the thigh by two robbers in the Kenyan town of Karen, near the capital Nairobi, on Easter Sunday. The robbers, driving motorcycles, approached the man and his family outside their hotel. The man was hospitalised, while the two robbers were later shot dead by the authorities.