Danish News Round-Up: Outrage after PM back-peddles on pre-election clean drinking water pledge

A second storm is threatening to engulf the recently assembled Danish government following the political and public backlash against plans to abolish one of the spring holidays.

READ MORE: Church, vocal minority and academics against plans to abolish public holiday, but businesses mostly in favour

PM Mette Frederiksen has been accused of going back on her pre-election promise to prioritise the provision of safe, clean drinking water during her second term. 

No mention of the safeguarding was mentioned in the new government’s platform, even though all five left bloc parties pledged their support for the provision on October 28 at a press event in a field at Slimminge Kildeplads between Køge and Ringsted. 

“It is almost unbearable if we who are here today do not ensure that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to drink clean water,” Frederiksen said at the time. 

Future provisions to ensure clean drinking water, according to the event, included a pesticide ban on up to 200,000 hectares of agricultural farmland. 

Left bloc former allies dismayed
Today the government’s stance has changed. 

“Considerably more knowledge is needed about the exact need for groundwater protection,” it noted. 

“The government will therefore initiate a survey of the 640,000 hectares that are currently designated as action areas, with a view to protecting drinking water.”

Several of the left bloc parties have complained, including Enhedslisten, who described the October 28 promise as a “blatant breach of promise” on a matter that had “the backing of a parliamentary majority”.

SF, meanwhile, said it was “deeply reprehensible”.

2022 the worst ever year for consumer confidence
Consumer confidence sunk to new lows in 2022, according to Danmarks Statistik, although the worst might be over, as December levels are currently hovering around -28.9, compared to -30.4 in November. Consumers are asked to rate their finances and prospects on a scale from -100 to 100, and in 2021, the average score over the entire year was -0.3. This year it has been -22.2.

Bunker lease deals being terminated across Denmark
Lease agreements to rent out bunkers belonging to Danish Defence are being terminated across the country, the ministry has confirmed to DR. The national broadcaster highlighted one case: an ammunition bunker at Vestermarie Plantage on Bornholm where local shopkeepers stored unsold fireworks. Their lease will end at the end of the year. “Although the probability of an enemy rolling up on Dueodde Strand is vanishingly small, we still have to prepare for the worst possible situation,” Ulrik Skytte, a commander at Almegards Barracks on Bornholm, told DR. 

Odense super hospital delayed again and will cost more
Region Southern Denmark has confirmed that a new super-hospital planned for southern Odense will again be delayed, this time by a year, and cost an extra 500 million kroner. It blamed corona and inflation for the delay and price hike. The cost of the hospital will now fall between 8 and 9 billion kroner. It should be ready by the end of 2025.

Debt recovery agency criticised over failure to gather overdue child support
Gældsstyrelsen, the debt recovery agency, has been criticised by the Parliamentary Ombudsman for allowing many estranged parents to not pay their share of child support. The amount currently overdue is 517 million kroner – up from 238 million in 2018. “It is very unsatisfactory that the debt is growing,” commented ombudsman Niels Fenger. “I acknowledge that Gældsstyrelsen has been focusing on the problem for some years, but I must also state that it has not succeeded in reversing the trend.”

More details emerge regarding Bornholm arrests
Details are beginning to emerge regarding some hushed-up arrests on Bornholm at the end of October. A total of nine men, ranging in age from 16 to 44, have been in custody ever since. The arrests followed the discovery of a gun on October 10 just south of Rønne, and it is believed the nine men were planning a robbery.

Five years the norm for causing death by reckless driving
A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to five years in prison after his reckless drunk driving caused the death of a 26-year-old male passenger last October in Hjørring. The man was driving at 140 km/h on a road with a 80 km speed limit when he lost control. Three other passengers were seriously injured when the car flipped several times and hit some trees. The sentencing follows another five-year term handed out last week to a man who whilst drunk ran a red light and killed a pedestrian in Rødovre, a northern suburb of Copenhagen.

Islamic State mother gets four years
The High Court has approved a four-year prison sentence handed out to one of the infamous Islamic State mothers who returned to Denmark last year after heavy media focus. Vestre Landsret saw no reason to shorten the district court’s sentence because the mother of five had already spent time in the al-Roj camp in Syria, which is classified as a prison camp. The 35-year-old was one of three mothers who returned to Denmark last October, at which point she was taken into custody and her children into care. She was charged with promoting terror and staying in a conflict zone without the permission of the Danish authorities.

Faroes hit by avalanches after heavy snowfall
Evacuations are ongoing on the Faroe Islands after heavy snowfall over the weekend, followed by strong wind and rain, caused several avalanches. The Faroes, which tends to have limited snowfall due to a moderate climate affected by its proximity to the Gulf Stream, has many steep hills and mountains. So far, the police report four avalanches (mainly snow, gravel and water), road and tunnel closures, and the evacuation of the town of Klaksvig. However, the temperature has since risen to 8 degrees, so no more snow is expected in the foreseeable future. The threat of avalanches remains.

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