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Denmark

Yearbook 2011

2011 DenmarkDenmark. In February, the Folketing decided that the new road link to Germany should be built in the form of a tunnel under the Fehmarn belt instead of a bridge. The tunnel construction is scheduled to start in 2014 and is scheduled to be completed by 2020. The train journey between Copenhagen and Hamburg will thus be shortened, by one and a half hours, to three hours.

In February, a 29-year-old Somali was sentenced to nine years in prison for attempting to murder the Danish Muhammad cartoonist Kurt Westergaard at the New Year one year earlier. According to the security police, the Somali had ties to the Islamist al-Shabab movement.

According to Countryaah official site, the refugee Christiania in Copenhagen lost a multi-year legal dispute in February when the Supreme Court declared that the Danish state's decision-making law and laws apply in Christiania, where residents, among others, traded in drugs and refused to pay rent and municipal fees. To secure their future in Christiania, the approximately 750 residents decided to form a mutual fund to buy off the area's properties that the government wants to privatize.

2011 Denmark

After fierce criticism from the opposition, the contentious Minister of Integration Birthe Rønn Hornbech was forced to resign in March. Denmark had rejected applications for citizenship from 36 stateless Palestinians born in Denmark in contravention of UN conventions. Søren Pind became the new Minister of Integration.

The government's support party The Danish People's Party demanded in the spring that Denmark should reintroduce border control, which was abolished in the Schengen cooperation. The motivation was to stop increased cross-border crime. The proposal met opposition in the EU, and the press became fierce on Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who needed the Danish People's Party's support for unpopular and long-term budget savings in a situation when Denmark's economy was getting worse. An agreement was reached to shorten the so-called early salary from five to three years and gradually increase the age for national pension from 65 to 67 years. The price for the settlement became a contentious tightening of border control against Sweden and Germany, which in the EU was seen as a violation of the Schengen agreement and free movement within the Union.

The continuing negotiations on economic policy between the government and the Danish People's Party broke in August in disagreement over a so-called growth package. The prime minister then announced parliamentary elections at short notice until September 15.

The opinion polls showed the takeover of the opposition, led by the Social Democrats (S) and the Socialist People's Party (SF), who accused the government of failing economic policy. In the wake of the global financial crisis, the strong Danish economy had weakened, the budget deficit grew and since 2008 the government had taken over nine banks that had failed to manage the crisis. S leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt promised increased government stimulus in the economy, announced increased taxes and fees to strengthen the budget and proposed a twelve-minute longer working day for economic growth.

After a decade of bourgeois rule, the election led to a shift in power. S and SF together with the middle party Radical Venstre (R) and the left-wing radical Enhedslisten (EL) gained a majority in the Folketing with 89 seats against 87 for the bourgeois parties.

R and EL were the big winners, while SF went back strongly. S also made a bad choice and lost a mandate. The outgoing Prime Minister Løkke Rasmussen's party Left remained the largest in the Folketing. Despite this, S leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt (44 years) was able to start negotiations on a new government coalition, where she became Denmark's first female prime minister.

The new government took office in October. It consisted of eleven S ministers and six from each R and SF. New Foreign Minister became SF leader Villy Søvndal, while Social Democrat Bjarne Corydon (38 years) became new finance minister. The tripartite government had 77 of the Folketing's 175 Danish mandates but had the support of the twelve members of the Enhedslist and of three members from Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt said in his government statement that cross-border crime would be combated within the Schengen cooperation, which meant an end to the EU-criticized stricter border control.

On October 1, Denmark, as the first country in the world, introduced a special tax on food containing more than 2.3% saturated fat. The decision had been made by the outgoing government but was supported by the new coalition, which planned to raise the fat tax.

A protracted debate over Thorning-Schmidt's and her husband's tax affairs in December resulted in a commission of inquiry. The question then was whether the former prime minister's head of press before the election leaked confidential information about the opponent Thorning-Schmidt to the press. When the Commission was appointed to the police, the former press officer was notified by the Ministry of Taxation.

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