Danish News National Round-Up: Culture minister resigns after running out of steam

Joy Mogensen’s departure comes ahead of a busy time for the ministry, as an anticipated showdown with the tech giants is on the cards following Denmark’s confirmation it will be introducing legislation to tackle the way they operate – particularly on social media

Joy Mogensen, the minister for culture and church affairs, has stepped down – not just from her position in the cabinet, but politics altogether, as she will not seek re-election to Parliament.

The 41-year-old, who was recently unable to attend the Tokyo Olympics because she is pregnant, might one day return as a MP, but for now she has reached her limit. 

Two years of coping with corona have taken their toll, and it has also been a period during which she lost an unborn child during her third trimester. 

No scandal, she’s simply run out of energy
Mogensen, a former mayor of Roskilde (2011-19), had a busy agenda ahead, including an anticipated showdown with the tech giants, so she thought it best to leave the position now.

“I would have liked to have done it myself,” she wrote on Facebook.

“But over the last two years, I have become a minister, I have lost a daughter, and I have been dealing with the handling of corona by two ministries overwhelmed by the pandemic. Each of the three things in themselves are life-changing challenges, and I have run out of steam.”

Christiansborg not like local politics
Mogensen has endured criticism for disappearing at times over the last two years, and she accepts she could have done better, although she hinted the current political climate is not conducive to finding solutions.

“The way of working that worked for me as a local politician … I have not been able to include it in national politics,” she said.

“I must not rule out that I myself will contribute to that conversation once I am a safe distance from my political work. But for now, I just want to look forward to becoming a mother and spend the autumn making plans for the future. I will not run for Parliament next time, and I am happy with this decision to leave politics for now.”

Sympathy from the Opposition
Venstre’s culture spokesperson Jan E Jørgensen sympathised with Mogensen via Twitter.

“The transition from municipality to ministry was not entirely successful,” he said.

“It is difficult to govern in a government that does not prioritise culture or the church. It was most evident during corona, when a frustrated Joy often found herself at the back of the queue – without explanation.”

Government seeks to tighten regulations for tech giants
The government has formulated two proposals, containing a total of 35 initiatives, which will tighten the rules concerning tech giants and social media usage. The Ministry of Trade and Industry chiefly wants to tackle unfair competition and the lack of consumer security in the arena, whilst strengthening the digital education of children and young people. Of huge concern is the sharing of illegal content like revenge porn and fake news. “There are many shadowy sides to the platforms’ business models, which store and utilises our data to generate sales and traffic,” commented the relevant minister, Simon Kollerup. “The government will strive to take better care of our children online, whilst ensuring consumers and our companies encounter fair and proper conditions when they co-operate with the platforms. This is not intended as a solution to everything, but it is the first step on the road to a more secure digital life.”

Most Danes would like more big sports events after success of Euro 2020
Some 58 percent of Danish people think that extra effort should be made to attract major sporting events to the country, according to a study carried out by Norstat for Dansk Erhverv in the days following Denmark’s exit from Euro 2020, of which Copenhagen hosted four games.
“In Denmark, we are good at involving the local population when we hold large sporting events – for example by activating voluntary and local sports environments as well as creating folk festivals and extra experiences around the event,” commented Lars Ramme Nielsen, the head of tourism and experience economy at Dansk Erhverv. “This helps to make Denmark an attractive host country for major sporting events. And then we have good sports facilities, infrastructure and hotel capacity, and that also counts.” Among the forthcoming events being hosted by Denmark are EuroGames (this week), canoeing and kayaking world cup events (Sep), two world badminton tournaments (Oct) and the Tour de France (July 2022). 

Citizenry proposals hope to alter refugee policy and hate crime legislation
Two citizens’ proposals – to introduce a more humane refugee policy, and to alter hate crime legislation – will now be considered by the parliamentary parties after gaining the necessary 50,000 signatures. If approved, they will be presented to MPs for a first reading and then referred to one of Parliament’s committees, which could lead to ministerial consultation, followed by a second and final reading, after which MPs will decisively vote. The proposals were published on March 1 and February 28 respectively.

Recognition for urban space endeavours in Aalborg
A project at Budolfi Plads in Aalborg has been selected to represent Denmark in the 2021 Green Cities Award. The green urban space offers a climate-proof oasis, and it has been warmly embraced by residents and businesses alike. Overseeing the landscaping duties at Budolfi Plads is OKNygaard, and it noted that “small green oases like Budolfi Plads bind the city together and create a social cohesion among citizens and visitors that is not to be mistaken”.

Immigration in second quarter rose, but still down on figures in 2019
Danmarks Statistik’s most recent population figures do not present any huge surprises. While the total net immigration figure during the second quarter of 2021 saw a 41 percent rise on the same period in 2020, it was 9 percent lower than Q2 in 2019. The same period saw a 2.1 percent increase in the birth rate – 2019, Q2 saw a particularly low rate – although June 2021 actually saw a 2.3 percent fall. March 2021 had seen a 7.2 percent increase, and many were excited to see if it would continue. It didn’t.

MØ added to Copenhagen 2021 line-up for Saturday
Copenhagen 2021 has confirmed that it has added MØ, one of Denmark’s biggest music stars, to its line-up to perform in the WorldPride & EuroGames Closing Ceremony concert at KB Hallen on Saturday. As well as being attended by thousands, the concert will be beamed out onto big screens at several locations, including WorldPride Square. It has also been confirmed that at 20:00 this evening an extra 3,000 tickets will be available for events such as the concert at KB Hallen and the Saturday festivities in Fælledparken, following a further relaxation of corona restrictions on August 14.