Your weekly recap of Danish politics and society – Week 12

Curious about what is going on in Danish society? Worry no more! Each week we will bring you the main political events, debates, decisions and issues in a neat package of short news stories.

by Anders Bo Andersen and Mie Olsen

Political moves

New and aggressive penalties against criminals: This Friday the government, Socialdemokratiet and Dansk Folkeparti adopted a new set of laws that increase punishment, control and exclusion orders to up to 10 years for gang members. “With this new law package, we can turn Denmark into a more safe and secure country”, says Minister of Justice, Søren Pape Poulsen. However, the package has also received critique. The exclusion order, which forbids a criminal to stay in the same area, as she/he has committed crime in, can have negative consequences, if the verdict has family in the area. According to Line Lerche Mørck, professor at Aarhus University, the new laws will be rather ineffective, as criminals’ motivations are unaffected by a knowledge of longer prison penalties.

In the media

Welcome 24nyt – new alternative media in Denmark: “Den Korte Avis” and “Newspeek” are two already established alternative media in Denmark. But now, the duo has become a trio, as the news website ‘24nyt’ has been introduced. Inspired by its American counterparts Breibart and Fox News, 24nyt is highly conservative and deviates from regular journalistic standards. The media has already been accused of twisting stories, as they have published negative reports on migrants and positive ones about US President Donald Trump. “We look a little like Breibart and Fox News in the sense that when you get two web media like Newspeek and 24nyt, you know that this is a media that is critical towards the EU, liberal in terms of economics and critical towards the devastating migration, which is immoral towards those who live in this country and those who come here,” says Jeppe Juhl, editor of 24nyt, to the newspaper Information.

Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt among the best: Helle Thorning-Schmidt is one of the best leaders in the world. So says Fortune Magazine’s list of ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’, as it places the former Danish Prime Minister in14th place. “In business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe, these men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same.” That is how Fortune Magazine defines the criteria for making a place on the list. “As Denmark’s first female Prime Minister, Thorning-Schmidt helped steer the nation through the financial crisis. Today, in her dream job, she runs a charity with a budget of over $2 billion that reaches 55 million children in 120 countries,” the list says about Mrs. Thorning-Schmidt, who is currently the head of the Save the Children Foundation. On the list are other international profiles such as Pope Francis, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau and Elon Musk.

Cultural clashes

Lars Løkke Rasmussen: respect for national privacy will save the EU: This week, the EU celebrated its 60th birthday. It is, however, a weakened union facing a soon-to-be Brexit and rise of populist parties across its member countries. On this occasion, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Ramussen proposed his solution for saving the union: respect for national sovereignty. “A member of our family is now leaving us (Brexit, edt.) That casts some shadows over the festivities. Now we have to learn from our mistakes and act upon it,” he said to Politiken. The Prime Minister underlined that the, at times, bureaucratic and distant EU-system needs to understand that it does not have to intervene in every national matter, which the Prime Minister thinks is the general opinion among the EU member states.

Socialist convention overshadowed by internal struggles: The leftist party Socialistisk Folkeparti held their annual convention this week. Headlines such as equality, welfare and solidarity were overshadowed by internal struggles within the party, mainly because of the party’s backing of the so-called ‘emergency break’ for migrants, which allows Danish border security to dismiss migrants at the border. The ’emergency break’ caused SF-profile Özlem Cekic to leave the party in protest, and internal rumblings have surfaced. However, at the convention, party leader Pia Olsen Dyhr apologised for the party’s handling of the situation. “On this issue, we did not do our homework well enough. I will be the first to apologise for that,” she said to the 450 party members at the convention. Despite the internal struggles, the party still increased its membership by 600 members in 2016.

Denmark in the world

Nordic Defence Corporation should replace NATO: So state the nine left-wing parties from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. In their collective declaration, the parties suggest that the Nordic counties, rather than tying their foreign- and security policy with NATO, should improve and collaborate on military forces, which participate in peacekeeping missions licensed by a UN mandate. “The election of Trump has made the world more insecure and increased the risk that the US and through (ed.) NATO will go into actual armed conflicts or start new ones. The development in USA increases the need that we in the North increase our corporation”, it reads in the declaration. Furthermore, the individual countries should commit to forbidding export of weapon to suppressive and belligerent countries. However, according to Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen from the right-wing party Venstre, NATO is still a cornerstone in Danish foreign and security policy.

mannn Think about it

According to new research on the 2015 election, a high turnout does not necessarily increase democratic equality, as not all groups in society are represented to the same extent. Thus, descendants from non-Western immigrants participate to much less of an extent than ethnic Danes.

Meet the team that brings you the best Danish news digest: 

Anders Bo Andersen holds a bachelor’s degree in International and European Studies and runs a blog on Danish politics. He is currently enrolled in International Journalism studies at Aarhus University.

Mie Olsen is Jutland Station’s Society Editor. She is currently studying a master’s degree in International Journalism with a specialism in Business and Finance.

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