International Round-Up: Danish Pavilion at World Expo in UAE was a “ridiculous” affair, claims participant

In other news, the EU Commission has a similar take on the Danish law that prevents benefit recipients from travelling abroad

The Danish Pavilion only received 200,000 visitors at the World Expo in UAE, which took place between October 2021 and March 2022, according to a new TV2 exposé called ‘Operation X: Da Danmark blev til grin’.

The target was 2 million, or at least that’s what the exhibiting Danish companies were promised.

It is one of the many failings of the pavilion, which has been hit by widespread accusations of fraud, detailed in the TV2 documentary.

A dastardly duo?
Intitally, there was no serious interest in the pavilion – either from the public or private sector. At one point, Denmark was the only country in the world not scheduled to take part.

But eventually, the necessary financing materialised thanks to the involvement of the Danish Business Council in Dubai, and Denmark’s official participation was confirmed in June 2021.

A company was set up to sell Danish companies the right to exhibit. As part of the package, the companies were told the state was involved and granting subsidies. But while the Foreign Ministry did eventually get involved, it maintains it never agreed to provide funding.

Not good for Denmark’s reputation
One of them was Michael Brogaard, the head of Dansk Mjød, who claims the venture has cost his company at least 1 million kroner.

Brogaard attended the Expo and recalls the paucity of the pavilion compared to others present. Shelves remained empty and copious wiring gave the site an unfinished look.

“I don’t think there was anyone down there who thought: ‘This is good for Denmark’s reputation’,” he told TV2. “We were ridiculous.”

Barring benefit recipients from foreign travel probably illegal, concur EU and academics
The EU Commission might soon take issue with the Danish law that prevents benefit recipients from travelling abroad more than once per month (and then only with permission from their municipality), as it contravene its rules regarding freedom of movement, reports News Øresund. The media recently highlighted how recipients were penalised for visiting Germany for shopping purposes. “There is an element of harassment in the rules. It is a humiliating way to treat the unemployed, and it is actually not allowed,” Kirsten Ketcher, a professor of social law at the University of Copenhagen, told DR. 

Russia accuses Denmark and Sweden of blocking them out
Russia has accused Sweden and Denmark of refusing to collaborate in the investigation of the North Stream pipeline explosions in late September. “Denmark and Sweden are afraid of Russia’s involvement in the investigation because then the world would know who was responsible for the explosions,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, told a press conference. It is strongly considered that the explosions were an act of serious sabotage.

Germans taking shopping sprees in Denmark for a change
Increasing numbers of Germans are crossing the border into Denmark to visit pharmacies due to supply shortages in their own country. Among the affected medicines are painkillers for children, eye drops, codeine, antibiotics, and treatments for epilepsy and high blood pressure. 

Dane stands accused of raping ex four times in Norway
A 21-year-old Danish man is in custody in Norway awaiting trial where he will stand accused of raping his former girlfriend four times. The fourth rape is believed to have taken place after he was released from custody under suspicion of carrying out the first three. A judge released him due to insufficient evidence. It is unclear how the man will plead.

Mother guilty of coercing daughter into marriage
Glostrup Court last week sentenced a 40-year-old woman with Danish-Pakistani citizenship to three years in prison for trying to force her teenage daughter into marriage. She was charged with arranging the ill-treatment and detention of her daughter in Pakistan. As part of the sentence, her recently-obtained Danish citizenship has been revoked because she failed to declare the crime as part of her application process. Her partner, the girl’s 49-year-old step-father, was also found guilty but only given one year. He retains his passport because he already had it before the offences took place.

Defence Ministry purchases copy of fighter jet to show it off to public
The Defence Ministry has spent 5 million kroner on buying a copy of one of its new F-35 fighter jets – made from plastic and fiberglass. Due to the terms of its contract with the US seller, the public are strictly forbidden from seeing one of the actual jets up-close, out of fear spies might learn its high-tech secrets.

Prince Joachim reportedly planning move to US
Prince Joachim will reportedly move his family to the United States during the second half of 2023 following Queen Margrethe’s decision to strip her children of their royal titles, according to BT tabloid. Joachim apparently wants to move to Washington DC.

Denmark inks investment deal with Indonesia
Indonesia has signed an agreement with Denmark that should enable joint investments of up to 500 million US dollars in the Asian country. The Indonesian Investment Authority (INA) signed the agreement with Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU). The agreement will explore investment opportunities in the transition to green energy and inclusive social development in Indonesia.

Denmark and India agree handicrafts program
India and Denmark are joining hands to boost handicraft art in both countries. The Textile Master Program will be implemented in 2023 with the support of the Danish Ministry of Culture, Danish Foreign Ministry, the Indian Artisans Association and the Danish Art Workshops.  The program will promote culture and strengthen diplomatic ties.

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