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Mother-tongue teaching makes its way back

NFL legend on the highs and lows of his career

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1 - 7 February 2013 | Vol 16 Issue 5

Four-week Wondercool coverage starts inside

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Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk WARNER MUSIC

NEWS

New PET controls announced in wake of Morten Storm controversy criticised for being too weak

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NEWS

Uranium adventure Lifting Denmark’s ban on uranium mining would pave the way for Greenlandic exploration

6 COMMUNITY

“Like a doll”

Marina and the Diamonds on fighting the sometimes losing battle against industry ideals

Haggis, whisky, bagpipes, kilts, table dancing – in other words, just your average Burns Night

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HISTORY

Danish troops out of Afghanistan by end of next year

Fighting the bullies

PETER STANNERS

Children’s author Ole Lund Kirkegaard built his career sticking up for the little guy

After troop withdrawal, Denmark will support developing civilian institutions in Afghanistan with 530 million kroner in aid a year until 2017

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ENMARK will end its military presence in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and instead start to focus its efforts to support the civilian population according to the government’s new two-year plan for Afghanistan. According to the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the withdrawal of Denmark’s approximate 650 person contribution in southern Afghanistan is necessary if the country is to

regain responsibility for its own security. “The Danish Afghanistan Plan contributes to a responsible transition of the full responsibility to the Afghan authorities while at the same time enabling our soldiers to return home from Afghanistan,” Søvndal stated. “Over the next two years, the task will be to support the Afghan authorities and the Afghan people in safeguarding and building upon the progress already achieved.” The Afghanistan plan, which was agreed between all political parties except the far-left party Enhedslisten, confirms a promise made by Søvndal last April regarding Denmark’s future engagement in Afghanistan and plan for the withdrawal of international forces. Following the withdrawal, Denmark will continue

to support the development of the Afghan police force by providing Danish police officials and financial assistance, although this will eventually be reduced and replaced by an EU-supported police mission. The War in Afghanistan began when international forces invaded Afghanistan a month after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on New York. After more than a decade of occupation and only modest gains, there are fears that the withdrawal of international forces will create a power vacuum that the Taleban will seek again to occupy. Defence Minister Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne) said he recognised that the task of securing Afghanistan would not be completed over the next

two years, and that there will be a need for international support in Afghanistan for many years to come. “But after 2014, the responsibility for Afghanistan’s security will lie with the Afghans,” Hækkerup said. “Thus, our role will – to a much greater extent – be to train, advise and support the Afghans.” Afghanistan has suffered through several decades of conflict, and as a result it is lacking the necessary institutions and infrastructure that are needed if it is to move towards democracy. Danish aid will focus on developing these institutions, and as a result Afghanistan will become the largest recipient of Danish development assistance, receiving

Afghanistan continues on page 6

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Week in review

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

CPH Post Word of the Week:

1 - 7 February 2013 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK

Aflive (verb) – put to sleep. Where you heard it: Dog lovers protested against the death sentence handed down to Thor, a German shepherd who bit another dog. The law says that dogs who attack others must be put down.

Demark siesta leads to Spanish fiesta

Scanpix / Liselotte Sabroe

Cheer up, Mikkel

Video shows exchange student attacked on city bus Dating the Danes | Know thyself, know thy Danes Denmark take on Spain in World Cup final: LIVE UPDATE Opinion | A tax everyone wants to see cut

FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. The Copenhagen International Fashion Fair celebrates its 20th anniversary as one of Europe’s foremost fashion events. FIVE YEARS AGO. New statistics show that one in six Copenhagen residents live below the poverty line. ONE YEAR AGO. In its economic survey of Denmark, the OECD advocates for cutting taxes and making students pay for their education.

It was a more sombre homecoming than hoped for Mikkel Hansen and the rest of the men’s handball team, who returned to Copenhagen on Monday after falling badly to Spain in the world championships. Chins up, fellas – second best in the world is nothing to be ashamed of (see more, page 12)

ganists, gravediggers and other officials that have driven up overall expenses. The church lost around 20,000 members in 2012, many due to the debate over allowing homosexuals to be married in church ceremonies. The Church of Denmark collects 600 million kroner a year in taxes.

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper

Going green

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, New York’s Empire State Building, the London Eye (pictured) – now, Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue will join the ranks of the world’s most famed landmarks to turn green in honour of St Patrick’s Day. The ‘Go Green’ campaign started three years ago when the Syd-

President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal

Since 1998, The Copenhagen Post has been Denmark’s leading source for news in English. As the voice of the international community, we provide coverage for the thousands of foreigners making their home in Denmark. Additionally, our English language medium helps to bring Denmark’s top stories to a global audience.

CEO and Executive Editor Jesper Nymark

In addition to publishing the only regularly printed English-language newspaper in the country, we provide up-to-date news on our website and deliver news to national and international organisations. The Copenhagen Post is also a leading provider of non-news services to the private and public sectors, offering writing, translation, editing, production and delivery services.

Managing Editor Ben Hamilton

Visit us online at www.cphpost.dk

Editor-in-Chief (responsible under the Media Liability Act) Kevin McGwin

News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande

ney Opera House was the first to be doused in green light in honour of St Paddy’s. In addition to a three-legged race, Copenhagen will host a St Paddy’s Day parade, and many pubs in town will be joining in on the festivities. The Little Mermaid will be ceremoniously lit green on March 16.

Editorial offices: Slagtehusgade 4 – 6 DK 1715 Copenhagen V Telephone: 3336 3300 News Desk news@cphpost.dk, 3336 4243 Sales and Advertising sales@cphpost.dk Subscriptions subs@cphpost.dk Annual home delivery rates: 1 year: 1,200kr; 6 months: 750kr Discounted bulk rates available. Distribution distribution@cphpost.dk

Nordea

The amount of money spent each year by the Church of Denmark is at its highest level since 2000, despite a continued decline in membership. Church Ministry figures indicated that in the last 10 years, wage expenses have increased 24 percent. It is particularly the salaries of choir singers, or-

Tourism Ireland / colourbox

Colourbox

Expenses on the rise

CORRECTION Due to a layout error, new opinion columnist Sarita Rajiv was not included in the CPH Post Voices line-up on page 9.

Record profits

Nordea posted a record 30.7 billion kroner in profits for 2012. It’s a major feat considering that its result for 2007, the year before the financial crisis struck, was 29.1 billion kroner. “In 2012 we had more customers, capital and profit than ever before,” group CEO Christian Clausen told Jyllands-Posten.

Layout and design Justin Cremer Aviaja Bebe Nielsen Logo by Rasmus Koch Published by CPHPOST.DK ApS Printed by Dagbladet, Ringsted.

“We are ahead of schedule on the plan that was initiated in 2011. We have laid a firm foundation for Nordea with closer customer relations, unchanged costs and increased equity.” Clausen added that the strong result was due to acquiring 85,000 new customers as well as increasing business with existing customers.

The CPH Post welcomes outside articles and letters to the editor. Letters and comments can be left on our website or at: comments@cphpost.dk

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Founded in 1998 by San Shepard All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law. The Copenhagen Post accepts no responsibility for the content of material submitted by advertisers.

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News

1 - 7 February 2013

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Mother-tongue teaching reintroduced in public schools Peter Stanners Trial will test whether teaching immigrant children in their first language improves their Danish, but opposition questions timing

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them of introducing mandatory mother-tongue teaching without involving parliament. “[Antorini] is sneaking it in by the back door by masking it as a trial,” Konservative MP Mai Henriksen told Politiken, adding that the move will damage the reform negotiations. “It’s dishonest and it’s a real shame because what we need now are good negotiations.” Even if the government’s trial does show that mother-tongue teaching is effective, Niels Egelund, an education researcher at Aarhus University, questioned whether the government can roll the programme out nationwide. “There are not enough qualified teachers who can provide mother-tongue teaching in Denmark,” Egelund told Berlingske newspaper. “In some schools with a high proportion of immigrants, there are as many as 50 languages spoken by the students, so it’s only the largest groups that will be offered the teaching. And that means giving some groups preferential treatment.” Rune Hejlskov Schjerbeck, a head of section at the Ministry for Education, responded to the criticism. “We chose Arabic and Turkish because they are the two largest groups and therefore most suitable for testing in the trial,” Schjerbeck told The Copenhagen Post. “The problems with these groups is that their academic achievement is much lower than the rest of the general population, so the trial will try and determine why this is and whether mothertongue teaching can help.” The trial will last until 2016, and the first results will be available in 2015.

YouTube / Gymnasiet tænkt forfra

ilingual primary school children will be offered teaching in their parents’ mother tongue in a new 30 million kroner trial announced by the Education Ministry last week. The programme will apply to around 3,900 students in years one and four – six-yearolds and nine-year-olds – at the 200 public schools where more than ten percent of the children speak another language at home. According to the education minister, Christina Antorini (Socialdemokraterne), the programme is designed to test whether mother-tongue teaching raises the skill levels of students – particularly those with Arabic and Turkish backgrounds. “We want to know more about what helps develop the language skills and knowledge of bilingual students,” Antorini said in a press release. The students’ progress will be monitored by researchers who will assess to what extent the mother-tongue teaching improved their language and mathematics skills, inclusion in class activities, motivation, achievement and self-esteem. The need to raise the academic achievement of non-ethnic Danish children was revealed after the publication of the 2010 PISA report into the reading standards of 15-year-olds. It showed that 46 percent of Copenhagen children

born to immigrants do not have functional reading capabilities, far higher than the city’s average of 24 percent. But before the programme has even started, politicians have questioned whether it is a good use of resources. According to Alex Ahrendtsen (Dansk Folkeparti), the problem faced by the children of immigrants is poor Danish skills. “That’s why all the resources should instead be placed on acquiring Danish language skills before they arrive at school,” Ahrendtsen told Ritzau. “It’s sad that the Education Ministry’s only proposal to improve integration at public schools is to keep the bilingual students in their own culture instead of trying to include them in the Danish culture.” Mother-tongue teaching was a right for all public school students until 2002 when the former centre-right government, led by Venstre and Konservative, made it a voluntary programme. Once it was no longer compulsory, councils slashed funding for it to such an extent that it almost disappeared. The benefits of mothertongue teaching are not conclusive and some research indicated that the current voluntary programme is mostly used by middle class immigrant families who have the least need for it. The new trial is intended to gather data to see how effective mother-tongue teaching can be, but the government’s intentions are now being questioned because of the timing of the proposal. The government is currently drawing up a reform of the public school system, which has led some politicians accusing

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Out with the old, in with the new? In a pair of online-only stories, we look at changes that are afoot in the Danish education system. The first, ‘School experiment shakes up century-old education system’, described a pilot project at six Copenhagen-area schools aimed at revamping an approach that has remained largely unchanged for 110 years.

Under the experiment, entitled ‘Gymnasiet tænkt forfra’ (‘Rethinking school from scratch’), teachers are only allowed to speak for seven minutes at a time, students don’t have books, and there is no homework. Although teachers and students are excited about the project, Dansk Folkeparti dis-

missed it as “a hippie ploy”. The second story, ‘Most schools lagging on digitalisation’, chronicles how only six percent of councils nationwide are on pace to meet the goal of having a computer or tablet for every student. Find both stories on our website, www.cphpost.dk.

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Cover Story

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

1 - 7 February 2013

Hate the game, not the player Part I: The problems with image

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Danish Fashion Institute

Ukrainian models Valeria Lukyanova and Olga Oleynik have become Internet sensations after cosmetically enhancing their looks to mimic the blonde-haired Barbie Doll Model Alliance / Fashion Law Institute

Eva Kruse, CEO of the Danish Fashion Institute: Fashion is “a dream world”

Pop star Marina Diamandis: “The more driven we become to achieve that ideal view of beauty, the uglier we start to feel” East2west news

ashion is the stuff of dreams. It promises glamour, beauty and adventure. Like a desert mirage, fashion promises to fulfil the desire for stylish uniqueness, but more frequently it leaves consumers thirsting for a self-image that is unhealthy and largely unattainable. This merchandising of illusion is a problem that Eva Kruse, the head of the Danish Fashion Institute, and its subsidiary Copenhagen Fashion Week, is particularly aware of. “Almost every woman I know is constantly on a diet of some form or battling her weight,” Kruse told The Copenhagen Post. “The fashion industry plays a role in how women see themselves, and we need to show people that it’s okay to have curves.” However, glamour and dreams – not curves – sell copy. With tabloids and fashion magazines consistently promoting images of slim celebrities and diet routines, it seems that any attempt to change industry practice in this regard faces an uphill battle. “It takes time and teamwork,” Susan Scafidi, the co-founder of Model Alliance, an NGO designed to help protect models, said. “And that’s why we, as an organisation, have chosen to work and try to help develop our own fashion agencies, rather than aggressively point the finger at others.” But it’s not just models affected by the obsession with youth and beauty. It pervades the entire entertainment industry. Singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis, who performs as Marina and the Diamonds, was told by her label, Warner Records, that the company had delayed the released of her video because she was “too ugly” in it. “My ex-manager told me the video needed more ‘beauty work’,” Diamandis, who is half Greek and half Welsh, told The Copenhagen Post. “My skin tone wasn’t right, for example. And I mustn’t have shaved my armpits that morning, I guess.” “The industry wants you to look a certain way, and that in turn has pushed the standards of beauty to an extraordi-

narily high level,” she continued. “You have to be perfect. Like a doll.” Diamandis, who herself sported dyed blonde hair for several years, says that she is strongly against the notion of “botoxing” her own appearance to please the industry. However, she admits that the battle is a compromising one. “The whole blonde look didn’t come out of nowhere,” the 27-year-old singer admitted. “I knew it would make me more palatable and open me up to a larger audience. And it did. Sadly.” This superficial obsession is nothing new to Scafidi. “Being thin and beautiful has become a real sign of wealth,” Scafidi explained. “If you look good, it indicates that you have the money to put effort into your appearance. And that’s why people strive to emulate models and celebrities.” However, Kruse says it is not productive to scapegoat models and entertainers as the guilty culprits for society’s unhealthy obsession with image. Hate the game. Not the player. That is the increasingly emphatic message from fashion insiders. However, is it enough to simply point the finger whilst simultaneously feeding the media machine? “Getting people to join our cause has been very difficult,” Scafidi explained. “Models are expected to be seen and not heard, and we see our job at Model Alliance as giving those professionals a voice in the industry.” Diamandis, on the other hand, does have a voice and has used her career as a platform to question the notions of image in modern media. And while songs like ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Teen Idle’ are critical statements of the industry, the fact that Diamandis still allowed Warner Records to “botox” her video is proof that the war is far from over. “The irony is that the more driven we become to achieve that ideal view of beauty, the uglier we start to feel,” she said. “But I don’t think about that anymore. I’ve grown up.” The question remains whether society will grow out of it, too.

Warner Music

Bjarke Smith-Meyer

Susan Scafidi (black skirt) co-founded Model Alliance to fight for better treatment for women in the fashion industry

Jessica Hanley Part II: Goals and expectations

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he injustices of the fashion industry don’t just affect the professionals, they impact the lives of everyday women. While many in the industry are speaking out that something must be done, tackling the obstacles and finding an all-encompassing solution to the myriad of problems is proving difficult. According to Eva Kruse, the head of the Danish Fashion Institute, that solution starts with changing our standards – both the ones society assigns to the female image and the literal standards that govern the industry. It’s an effort that, for Kruse and Copenhagen Fashion Week, begins with a charter of concrete rules that govern how Danish agencies treat models. The rules range from age requirements for models to mandating that they be served sufficient meals on the job. But, Kruse says, regulations can only go so far – what’s more important is the fundamental message that the charter conveys. Treating models fairly, she suggested, should communicate the idea that they are worth more than just their looks. That’s why she always makes sure to have nutritious food available at fashion shows and shoots. “The symbolic value of healthy food servings is about showing them that we care and that they are respected as humans,” Kruse said. Susan Scafidi, who has fought for better treatment for women in the fashion industry, agreed. Through her work with Model Alliance, she has fought to ensure that models receive fair treatment, such as breaks and meals at work, and that the models aren’t exploited or abused. The underlying idea, she said, is that if the industry put more work into empowering models, ideals might begin to change on their own. However, the efforts of Model Alliance have had mixed success. “It’s had some big successes,” Scafidi said. “Vogue

International, responsible for 16 publications, agreed to stop hiring models under the age of 16. Hopefully we can push that number up to 18.” The under-16 measure was violated within a year, however, but Scafidi largely attributes that to models lying about their age. According to Scafidi, good intentions can only go so far, and rules and conditions alone aren’t enough to change the industry. Scafidi says the bigger issue is society’s obsession with physical beauty, which places insurmountable pressures on women. “Obesity is rife within society, and that’s why we’re becoming all the more obsessed with being thin,” she said. “If we were famine thin, then being curvy would be the popular thing.” “No one player can change the system,” she continued. “That’s why we’ve chosen to work with agencies rather than simply hold banners and shout slogans. That might bring attention, but it’s short-lived. We’re in it for the long haul.” Likewise, Kruse hopes that Copenhagen Fashion Week’s charter will challenge the traditional notions of beauty. “We hope that the charter will promote more natural and healthy beauty ideals,” Kruse explained. “It’s important that young people don’t believe all the images they see in magazines to be real. It’s a dream world where all the available tricks have been used to make the perfect image.” While Kruse felt that Danish fashion is on its way to promoting a greater range of images, she agreed that the industry as a whole has a long way to go. “On the international catwalk, you sometimes see female models who almost look like boys, as well as more curvy women. We’d like to see that even further expressed and have more diversity in the looks,” she said. But Kruse also pointed out that hiring curvier models isn’t enough. Like Scafidi, she feels that the problem transcends the models themselves. The greatest challenge, she said, is for the fashion world to open the lines of communication about the reality of the ideals they promote. “What we aim to work on is to open the discussion about beauty and health and show people that the fashion world is an illusion,” she explained. At the end of the day, creating charters, enforcing rules and shouting slogans are all well and good, but a discussion of image is still imperative. Perhaps a lasting solution will only arise when society begins to address what underlies the diets, music videos and fashion magazines: the human image as a product for profit. If the public stopped watching the game, perhaps the players would be forced to rethink their approach.

Online this week Minority pays to support majority as employment plummets

Police Museum pulls victims’ exhibition after criticism

Danes work less than previously thought

The number of councils with a majority of residents in work has fallen drastically, according to a study by the municipal policy research group Kora. The study found that only three of Denmark’s 98 councils currently have a majority of employed residents. In 2009, 59 councils could boast that a ma-

Copenhagen’s Police Museum has closed their now-notorious exhibition of 12 murdered women after intense criticism from victims’ relatives and politicians. The museum set up the exhibition, entitled ‘Kvindedrab in memoriam’ (Murdered women, a memorial), without first asking permission from victims’ fami-

Danes are working about three hours less a week than previously thought, according to new, more precise calculations from Statistics Denmark. While it was previously thought that Danes worked about 37 hours each week – still less than most other EU coun-

jority of their residents were in work. According to Kurt Houlberg, Kora’s head of research, it is the rising number of senior citizens and unemployed residents that poses the biggest threat. “These are the greatest problems facing councils both in the short and, even more pressingly, long term,” he told DR News.

lies. The museum’s administrators say they deliberately chose not to inform the families in order to protect their own freedom of speech. But now the museum has decided to take down the exhibition, writing on its website that the hefty media debate has irreparably compromised the exhibition’s original intentions.

tries – the new numbers reduce the working week to just over 34 hours. “We have discovered that we have significantly overestimated the number of hours that Danes are working,” Sven Egmose, the head of Statistics Denmark, told Politiken newspaper.

Read the full stories at cphpost.dk

NEWS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

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Environmental think-tank secretly promoted DSB EU proposes electric car ‘Plan B’ SCANPIX / MARTIN SYLVEST ANDERSEN

The Waterfrontgate scandal deepens: new documents show DSB had secret influence over PR company’s environmental thinktank and magazine

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ATIONAL rail operator DSB secretly funded an environmental thinktank and magazine in order to promote its own interests, according to new revelations by public broadcaster DR. The Copenhagen Climate Network (CCN) was established by the PR firm Waterfront to promote green and climatefriendly technology through its magazine Climate. But according to emails obtained by DR, DSB secretly funded CCN to promote its interests without the knowledge of CCN’s management, which included high-profile politicians such as the current environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti). The secret relationship is outlined in an email from Waterfront’s managing director Lars Poulsen to DSB’s management. “Waterfront Communications established CCN and the magazine Climate with the support of DSB,” the email states. “Rumours may arise about the political control of DSB’s internal media. Climate will remain neutral on this subject and can speak freely – on behalf of DSB.” Despite what these documents say, several former chair-

Waterfront managing director Lars Poulsen contends that he is “a target for one undocumented allegation after another”

men of CCN – including Auken, who stepped down when she was appointed minister in 2011 – deny ever knowing its relationship with DSB. “I was introduced to CCN as a business network for green businesses,” Auken told DR. “They did not tell me that DSB and Waterfront were behind it.” One of the clearest examples of DSB’s use of CCN was its attempt to position itself as the future operator of a light-rail service that will follow the Copenhagen ring motorway, Ring 3. “By presenting the rail solution as a light-rail S-train service, where the light trains connect to the S-train network [...] DSB is brought closer to the job as the operator of the service,” the private document states.

DSB was promoted as the best operator of a light rail service in an article published in Climate in October 2011 and written by CCN and Waterfront employee Lars Lindskov. An internal mail also revealed how CCN promoted DSB as the best operator for the light-rail project at a Nordic rail conference attended by 5,000 people. “We promoted DSB’s views at a Nordic conference in Sweden the previous week and the co-operation seems to be working well,” Waterfront stated. MEP Dan Jørgensen (Socialdemokraterne) took over as CCN chairman after Auken and says he feels deceived after hearing DR’s revelations. “I’m angry at being misled,” Jørgensen told DR. “My name

was used to legitimise a product that wasn’t what it appeared.” This is Waterfront and DSB’s second scandal. Several weeks ago, DR revealed how DSB used the PR company to keep journalist Lars Abild busy so he wouldn’t have time to write about the troubled rail operator. Waterfront recently announced that it had reported two former employees to the police for breaking confidentiality agreements and stealing sensitive information. In a press release, Poulsen complained about the use of uncited sources and unreleased documents to support accusations against them. “I find it absurd that I have become a target for one undocumented allegation after another,” Poulsen wrote, adding that he recognised that he had formulated himself badly in some confidential emails. DSB suspended executive head Peter Nedergaard Nielsen and fired two political consultants following the initial scandal involving the journalist Abild. The Transport Ministry is now carrying out an investigation into DSB’s relationship with Waterfront. (PS) 475,000kr a year for selling coffee? DSB’s on-board coffee trolleys are big money losers for the company, which blames high salaries, page 13

New PET controls too weak, critics say

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HE NEW rules announced three weeks ago to give parliament more control over domestic intelligence agency PET are inefficient and will see Denmark continue as one of the European countries with the least control over its intelligence agency. That is the verdict of the liberal think-tank CEPOS. “Even though Kontroludvalget [a parliamentary committee established in 1946 to oversee PET] is given more information than it is today, it will continue under the current scheme in which the committee is mainly informed about PET’s overall actions without the opportunity to conduct proper and running controls, and without any real options to react,” Jacob Mchangama, CEPOS’s director of legal affairs, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “The committee needs to be given more teeth if it should carry out an effective control.” The new controls over PET were announced by the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), on January 11. Although he did not mention it by name, the new rules are largely seen as a reaction to

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Justice Minister Morten Bødskov’s new rules have been criticised for lacking teeth

“We were told that a new law would tighten control of PET,” Juul said. “But in reality, the new law will concern only one little element of PET’s work. All of the things that would be found in a Morten Storm-like case, for example, would be outside the inspectorate’s remit.” Ole Hækkerup, a spokesperson for governing party Socialdemokraterne, told JyllandsPosten that the new laws were written in a way to keep PET’s work effective. “There are other European countries with more openness, but that also causes some security problems and Denmark is high on the list of terrorist targets,” Hækkerup said. “Therefore it is important to have an intelligence agency that can prevent attacks.”

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HE EUROPEAN Union climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, wants her home country to provide 5,000 electric-car charging points by the year 2020 in order to reach stated climate goals. Hedegaard said that if the 27 member states supply the charging points, electric car sales will increase. “We can finally end the discussion about the chicken and the egg when it comes to whether the infrastructure needs to be present before the electric car market explodes,” Hedegaard wrote on the European Commission website. “It has to make sense to buy an electric car, but it doesn’t if you can’t even drive halfway across the country without having to recharge.” The automobile industry’s transition to the electric car in Europe has not gone as smoothly as hoped, with electric car sale numbers lagging seriously behind the 2020 goals set by the EU. In Denmark, which is one of the better-equipped electric car nations per capita, there are only 280 charging points and electric car sales have plummeted drastically. As a result, Denmark recently downgraded expectations from 400,000 electric cars by

2020 to 200,000. But until now, political initiatives have focused on the cars without giving much thought to the charging points – something that Hedegaard hopes will change. “With our proposed binding goals for charging points, which have a common charge plug, electric cars will soon be hitting Europe’s roads. That’s a victory for the environment, business, consumers and employment,” Hedegaard said. The vice-president of the European Commission, Siim Kallas, said that it was a strong step towards quelling Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels. “Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe’s economy more resource efficient, reduce our over-dependence on oil, and develop a transport industry that is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century,” Kallas said in a statement. “Between them, China and the US plan to have more than six million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is a major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast-growing global market.” The EU proposal, which wants 795,000 charging points across the EU by 2020, must be approved by the European Parliament and all 27 member states before it can come into effect. (CW)

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Even with the newly-announced controls over the intelligence agency, Denmark will still be one of the European countries with the weakest oversight

the numerous revelations by former PET double agent Morten Storm, who claims to have infiltrated al-Qaeda and worked with PET and the CIA to execute the American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki via a targeted drone strike in Yemen. Storm’s story has generated immense domestic and international attention. In 2011, the European Parliament examined the control organs that EU countries have in place over the intelligence agencies. It revealed that Denmark has some of the weakest oversight in Europe. According to Mchangama, even with the newly-announced changes, Denmark’s oversight of PET will still lag behind mechanisms in place in other European countries. “Kontroludvalget does not have direct access to documents and specific cases, as is the case in other countries,” Mchangama told Berlingske newspaper. “The committee will now receive an annual statement on procedures such as wire-tapping and can request information on [PET’s] activities and guidelines, but it is still just an orientation that the committee will not be able to verify. And even if the members of the committee discover something illegal, they cannot do anything.” The new PET rules were also criticised by Amnesty’s Claus Juul, who told Information newspaper that they do not go far enough.

SCANPIX / THOMAS LEKFELDT

JUSTIN CREMER

Dropping electric car sales around Europe have forced the EU to adopt a new approach in order to reach its 2020 climate goals

THE EUROPEAN THE EUROPEAN UNION UNION The European The European RegionalRegional Development Development Fund Fund

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International

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

1 - 7 February 2013

Government looks at allowing uranium mining in Greenland Turnaround could be too little, too late after years of foot-dragging on Greenlandic mineral riches

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parliamentary majority seems ready to drop Denmark’s 25-year ban on uranium mining, paving the way to permitting Greenlandic mining operations that result in the extraction of the radioactive element, and setting the Kingdom of Denmark on its way to becoming one of its largest exporters. If Greenland’s Self-Rule government also decides to follow suit and allow uranium mining, the world’s fifth largest reserves in Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland would become available. The current zero-tolerance policy prevents all operations that result in uranium being removed from the ground – even as a by-product. The policy prevents companies from mining for valuable rare earths that are vital for modern technologies like mobile phones. Those minerals are located in areas surrounded by uranium, which has both peaceful and military applications. Due to the element’s security significance, Denmark must agree to permit uranium exports before Greenland can decide whether it will allow it to be mined. The government’s Greenland spokesperson, Flemming Møller Mortensen, Socialdemokraterne (S), said the ruling party and PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt

(S) were in favour of allowing Greenland to exploit its mineral wealth. “To the extent that existing conventions allow for lawful exploration, trade and distribution, they should be opened up,” Mortensen told Politiken newspaper. The Greenland Bureau of Mineral and Petroleum is set to deliver a report in the spring, outlining the potential public health and environmental impacts of uranium mining. If the report appears positive, a majority in Greenland’s parliament appears ready to vote in favour of repealing the zero-tolerance policy. “We are in favour of uranium mines as long as it is done in a proper manner and in co-operation with Denmark,” Greenland’s transportation minister, Jens B Frederiksen, told Politiken. “There is good money in it, and if other countries can sell uranium, we should be allowed to as well.” Frederiksen said he felt it was “very likely” zero tolerance would be dropped. Kuupik Kleist (Inuit Ataqatigiit), Greenland’s premier, reiterated that for the time being zero tolerance was still the law of the land. Emerging from a congress of his ruling party last weekend, Kleist advised everyone to tone down the rhetoric. “There may prove to be a valid reason to repeal the zero-tolerance rule, but at our convention, IA decided in favour of keeping it in place,” Kleist told Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq. The party maintained its stance on zero tolerance because it has seen no information that convinced it of the need for change.

Scanpix / Jens Nørgaard Larsen

Ray Weaver

The Greenlandic premier, Kuupik Kleist, said that any changes to uranium policy should first undergo public discussion

Kleist also wants a public discussion of the matter before any change to the uranium policy is considered. “If Denmark has its own uranium and wants to extract and export it, they are welcome to do so. We maintain our zero tolerance for uranium in this country,” he said. Meanwhile, many view Denmark’s current rush to get on-board in Greenland’s mining industry as a desperate attempt to make up for earlier mistakes. Since Greenland took control of the island’s mineral resources in 2009, it has actively been courting mineral companies around the world. Chinese and Australian companies have put serious money and manpower on the table,

while Denmark and Europe sat passively by – something that members of the previous Venstre-led government acknowledge was a mistake. “We have not been in the game trying to get Danish, Scandinavian and other European investors to take an interest in mining in Greenland,” former finance minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen (Venstre) told Politiken. “No-one imagined we would see a situation in which three or four thousand Chinese workers might come to Greenland, he said referring to a recently passed Greenlandic law relaxing labour and immigration regulations for foreign mining companies. Danish passivity towards Greenland’s mineral resources has often frus-

trated the island’s labour and industry minister, Ove Karl Berthelsen. “It is obviously unfortunate and unfair that nothing was done about it,” he told Politiken. Hjort Frederiksen feared that nonaction would make it easier for foreign countries to influence Greenlandic policy-making. “It is scary because the Chinese do not expect their investment to pay off in five or ten years,” he said. “They see it as a long-term political investment, and once you have seen how the Chinese behave in Africa, you do not want that behaviour to be transferred to Danish citizens.” Thorning-Schmidt was bemused at Venstre’s sudden interest in Greenland. “They were in power for ten years and when Greenland was granted selfrule, so it is odd that they now want to distance themselves from decisions that they made,” Thorning-Schmidt told Politiken. She said her government would soon present a new Greenland policy, but Greenland’s Frederiksen warned that now that the Danes finally want to get into the game, they should not expect special treatment. “All Danish investment is welcome, but we do not have exclusive agreements with anyone.” Greenlandic premier: No special treatment Kuupik Kleist says Denmark is welcome to get involved in mineral extraction, but it will have to compete with others, page 8

Universities complain of difficulty Environment minister addresses water usage employing qualified foreigners Despite government promises, the number of rules and the cost of hiring foreign researchers have increased

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niversities wanting to employ foreign researchers are still facing significant immigration barriers, Information newspaper reports. After the current centre-left government assumed power in 2011, it stressed that attracting and keeping highly-skilled foreigners was a vital prerequisite for Denmark’s ability to compete internationally. But despite promises to ease immigration restrictions, the government has actually made it more expensive and more difficult for universities to hire foreigners. For example, last year’s immigration reform passed on the responsibility for processing all applications for working and studying in Denmark to the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment (DALRIR) under the Ministry of Employment. This meant that universities were

Afghanistan continued from front page

an average of 530 million kroner in aid per year between 2013 and 2017. But according to the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), Afghanistan must live up to certain re-

required to produce more documentation than they previously needed, which slowed down the processing time for applications. Universities now have to produce a signed contract before a residency permit is granted as well as documentation proving that the employment conditions comply with those set by unions. But universities point out that there is no need to provide this evidence because employees are automatically covered by collective bargaining agreements because the institutions are state-subsidised. “The immigration authorities used to understand that as state institutions we did not need to prove that our salaries complied with collective bargaining agreements because it was taken for granted,” Michael Winther from the International Center at Aarhus University told Information. Foreign researchers are also still forced to pay a 3,165 kroner fee in order to be granted residence permits despite the fact that the minister for higher education, Morten Østergaard (Radikale), last year stated that he would get rid of them.

Navigating immigration regulations is so complex that the University of Copenhagen (KU) has had to establish a new department in order to advise foreign workers. “We have no choice but to play along because [DALRIR] is our means of employing highly-regarded foreigners,” Morten Sand Henriksen from KU’s International Staff Office told Information. “But it seems bureaucratic to introduce extra rules.” Vivian Tos Lindgaard, from KU’s international human resources department, contends that the immigration rules send the wrong message. “Researchers experience that the whole approach is full of mistrust, and it can be hard to explain to some of the world’s leading researchers in their field why they are being treated with suspicion,” Lindgaard told Information. Information reports that Danish universities have attempted to collectively lobby the government to ease the regulations that have been tightened, but were reportedly told they should get used to no longer being “spoiled”. (PS)

sponsibilities in exchange for the aid. “The Afghan government will be held to account for their promises of tangible progress in areas such as the respect for human rights, elections and the fight against corruption,” Friis-Bach said. “There will be consequences for our development assistance if the Afghans do not deliver on their commitments.” Some media outlets report that the

government is considering bowing to the demands of opposition centre and right-wing parties, who want to send F16 fighter jets to Afghanistan after Danish troops are withdrawn. This, however, was not confirmed by the government’s press release. Forty-three Danish troops have lost their lives since Denmark joined international forces in Afghanistan in 2002.

Ida Auken says we can no longer afford luxury of using drinking water for other means, claiming Danish technology can help combat global water waste

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he environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti), is calling for action on the global water crisis and wants to export Danishproduced solutions to the problem. Auken addressed the issue and potential options at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. “We need to secure sustainable management of the world’s water resources, which will endure extreme pressure in forthcoming decades due to climate change and soaring population numbers,” Auken told Berlingske newspaper. “And one of the things we can do is to limit water waste.” Auken told Politiken newspaper that part of the solution is getting more use out of ‘second-hand’ water – water that is not clean enough for human consumption. “Today, when we flush the toilet, take our cars through the car wash and water our garden, we use clean drinking water,” Auken said. “That is a luxury, and maybe we can use some of that not-so-clean water for those types of things – and maybe in that way save both drinking water and money.” The government, with the support of Enhedslisten, has set aside eight million kroner to look into uses for second-hand water. Saving the world’s water resources

has become a primary concern because experts maintain that half of the world’s population will live in areas that lack water by the year 2030 if nothing is done. According to the consultants McKinsey & Company, in some places up to 80 percent of the available water is lost before it ends up in the taps of consumers. Auken sees the potential for exporting Danish solutions to the problem. The Danish export of technical water solutions already nets about 15 billion kroner annually, and the global market for technological water solutions is estimated to be 2.5 times more lucrative than the wind energy market. “There are many cities around the world that lack water but still waste up to 50 percent of the water they have access to due to poor water systems,” Auken told Berlingske. “But the good news is that there is widespread support to ensure that there will also be water for future generations.” Auken hopes that water will be one of the key areas of focus when the 2015 climate goals – eight climate targets that were agreed to by the world in 2000 – come up for revision. The first steps towards securing water resources were taken in the summer of 2012 at the UN’s Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During the conference it was agreed that there must be clear goals on how the world’s natural resources – such as water, oceans and agriculture – are used. (CW)

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OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

Missions accomplished? Before parliament commits forces to new military coalitions, it should ask whether intervention is worse than nothing at all

1 - 7 February 2013

No time for a time-out

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Y THE END of next year, Denmark will – barring any international calamity – for the first time since 2002 be without a major contingent of ground troops deployed to a combat zone. The 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan marks the end of a process that saw Denmark transformed from a peacekeeper – as a regular contributor to UN missions starting in the 1950s – to a peacemaker in the Balkan Wars, and finally to regular combatant in the theatres of the current War on Terror. The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed inordinately high levels of support, but with the troops safely back on home soil, a self-examination of Denmark’s role as an aggressor nation is likely to begin in earnest. This is a process that has already begun to some extent in popular culture – as early as 2004, the film ‘Brothers’ looked at the cost of war on the aggressor nation. With demobilisation comes the freedom to speak freely about the value of sending armed forces into 21st century conflicts without fearing whether it will undermine support on the homefront and wreck battlefield morale. We should expect a frank discussion about what has gone on during the past 12 years, and not least what can be learned from it. The first calculation that must be made is the cold cost-benefit analysis of whether Denmark (and the west) got more out of deploying troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan than it put into it – in terms of monetary cost, military lives lost or shattered and, most importantly, the effect it had on Afghans. This last figure may be incalculable, but it is far from insignificant. It’s possible that some people in Afghanistan are better off thanks to the efforts of Denmark and the other NATO forces. But, with just two years left until Afghans are left to provide their own security, and with the Afghans looking increasingly capable of doing so, it’s entirely likely the country will be worse off than it was when Western troops invaded. For military planners, the impending failure in Afghanistan and the partial success in Iraq should also serve as lessons before heading into similar conflicts. The nation’s newly-found faith in military intervention has already seen it send the military to assist in conflicts in Libya and now Mali. If the foreign minister gets his way, the next destination for Danish forces could well be Syria, should that country’s murderous regime be toppled. Before voters agree to again put Danish soldiers in harm’s way for the Syrians or anyone else, they should ask themselves whether the Afghans are better off now than they were 12 years ago.

KUUPIK KLEIST

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REENLAND’S SelfRule government gathered last week to discuss statements by the opposition in the Danish parliament about the development of the Greenlandic mining industry. We took note that a number of parties in the Danish parliament are in favour of a stateowned company that would finance the development of mining operations in Greenland. Denmark and Greenland are both supporters of open, fair and transparent international trade. Denmark and Greenland have pledged to uphold these three principles as signatories to a number of international agreements. Most recently, Greenland has entered into a letter of intent with the EU in which both sides agree to respect the principle of open and free trade. That includes an agreement not to enter into exclusive agreements with any country. The Self-Rule government welcomes Danish investment in Greenland’s mining industry.

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Danes: Cameron’s EU speech sets new vision for Europe Denmark has always followed Cameron’s ideal of ‘having their cake and eating it too’. It is entirely unrealistic to reduce regulations that damage competition in the single market, and at the same time allow more space for national differences at the political and legislative level. These two things can never happen at the same time. There will never be a truly open market in Europe while different countries can choose to subsidise domestic products, impose taxes on imports, restrict free movement, have huge variations in taxation etc. Each model has pros and cons, but you have to choose. DanDansen By website Christiania seeking to block bike path

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intact under the terms of the new mining law. The law sets a requirement that foreign employees working in Greenland are offered acceptable wages and working conditions. The law states that foreign employees may not earn less than Greenland’s minimum wage, which is far higher than most

The law sets a requirement that foreign employees working in Greenland are offered acceptable wages and working conditions western European countries. Conditions such as these are essential if we are to make sure that Greenland’s mining operations and related activities can compete with similar operations abroad. The statements coming out of Copenhagen only serve to cast doubt on the stability of Greenland’s mining sector and undermines the joint DanishGreenlandic policy that has been in place for decades. Even if we establish stateowned companies, it doesn’t eliminate the necessity to ensure that Greenlandic mining operations can compete globally. Projects that turn a profit only with the help of subsidies are not sustainable. In addition, there is something that hasn’t been considered

in the proposal to create a stateowned mining company: the customer. It’s not enough to just dig minerals up. Someone needs to buy them at competitive prices. Any Danish company that engages in mining operations will face the same commercial requirement. The Self-Rule government believes that changes to immigration regulations that would permit companies operating in Greenland to hire foreign labour should not be held hostage by politicians in Copenhagen. This is too important for Greenland. The Self-Rule government is calling on Danish lawmakers to respect Copenhagen’s agreements with Nuuk and accept the decisions made by Greenland’s democratically elected legislature. We urge the Danish parliament to pass the required changes to immigration regulations. The proposal to create a new mining company owned by the Danish state was not something that was discussed with the SelfRule government ahead of time. Why not? Not doing so is in all likelihood a violation of the Self-Rule agreement between Denmark and Greenland, grants Greenland responsibility for its domestic affairs. It’s not as if there hasn’t been a good opportunity. During the past month, the SelfRule government has met with representatives of all the parties in the Danish parliament – with the exception of Dansk Folkeparti – to discuss the details of the mining law and its importance to Greenland. The author is the premier of Greenland

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And two Danish companies – DONG and Maersk – are in fact already actively taking part in the search for oil and gas off Greenland’s coasts. One fundamental principle the Self-Rule government has established is that all investments in Greenland’s mining industry are made in a competitive, market-based environment. Provided they abide by this principle, Danish investment firms and mining companies are welcome to become active in Greenland. For us, it makes no difference what proportion of the company’s shares are owned by the state, and what proportion are owned by private investors. The Self-Rule government would also like to underscore that should a decision to set up a state-owned Danish company be made, Greenland will not call for a proposed ‘time-out’ on the development of its mining industry to wait for the company to come online. Doing so would wreck our reputation in the eyes of the companies that have already sunk hundreds of millions of kroner into their own mining operations at the invitation of Greenland and the Danish state. The Greenlandic parliament recently passed a law relaxing certain regulations for mining companies establishing operations in Greenland. The Danish and the Greenlandic governments agree that this law does not put the Kingdom of Denmark at odds with the rulings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Specifically, the ILO’s core conventions on the right to organise and the right to engage in collective bargaining remain

Oh my god. The incredible irony of saying that any construction next to Christiania has to be approved. On another note, a more direct route without having to bike through the centre of Christianshavn and over the road bridge would be most welcome. If Christiana gets to have a say

about where the city builds the path, then it’s more proof that the government here don’t have a backbone between them. Shufflemoomim By website Immigration circus leaves theatre students in limbo Nevermind that the simplest and best approach would be to grant (or rather not to deny!) anyone studying for a degree programme the right to work a part-time job. Dispensations, special permissions, prohibitions, according to whether you are out of EU or from the EU and all that red tape, over something as mundane as student work. It’s out of control bureaucracy that pays not even lip service to rules of logic or common sense, not to speak of civil and human rights. Such is the state of legal immigration all over the world. Who is to say that Denmark cannot produce outstanding contributions to the tragicomedy? Loroferoz By website Increased fines a ”clear signal” that illicit sales to teens must stop This law is total bulls**t. You

must know that necessity is the mother of invention. If these minors need beer and cigarettes, they will definitely find a way. There are so many ways to buy them. If they cannot buy them now, they will have cravings and they will fill it up by drinking and smoking more after they turn 18. The best way to encourage young people is to teach them some moral values. As a foreigner, I definitely can see Denmark needs to spend more time on moral values. The whole of Denmark lacks it. Bhuiyan Jahan By website ‘Are the Danes racists?’ It is so absurd to use the word ‘racism’ to make headlines out of every sh***y article someone writes. Profiling and racism is not the same. Let’s say that 85 percent of all crimes and fights in nightclubs for the past ten years were started by Lithuanians. Now understandably, most Danes would avoid clubs where Lithuanians like to hang out. Let’s say more and more clubs would start to refuse entry to Lithuanians. Would that be racism ? No. Raimondas Bubububu By website

Unfortunately, Kelly Draper chooses to misrepresent the problem, which is actually what the book is about. The book is not an examination of whether Danes are racist in the day-to-day sense Kelly Draper is talking about. The book is a meta study on social science: it examines all the literature that has been written on the topic, and shows that there is a very strong tendency against ascribing racism to Danes. Unscientific studies are quoted as if they are scientific studies, scientific studies are misquoted and scientific studies that do not come to the ‘politically correct’ conclusion, that Danes are racist, are ignored. To those who do not know Denmark or Danes, I can assure them that racism is not a problem in Denmark (or less than most other places), but we do have a very harsh debate between some people who want to strengthen ‘Danish values’ against interculturalists, and in this debate the ‘racist’ term is used a lot. The problem is that foreigners overhear this and start thinking: “I’ve heard they are racist. I’d better not invite them to my parties; my daughter may meet one of them and fall in love.” Soh2 By website

OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

A flag for every occasion (even Lusedag)

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Brick by Brick BY STEPHANIE BRICKMAN Stephanie Brickman has recently made the hop across the North Sea from Scotland to live in Denmark with her distinctly un-Danish family. This 40-something mother, wife and superstar is delighted to share her learning curve, rich as it is with laughs, blunders and expert witnesses.

HEN YOU came to live in Denmark, the chances are you arrived by air and so, like me, were greeted by a sea of red and white flags. From the oversized to the tiny, no Dane meeting a loved one at Copenhagen Airport would feel right about the occasion without a flag in hand, even if they had only been to Aalborg for a night. It’s like the ‘Dan’-everything thing. You know: Danbillet, Dantaxi, Danherpes (OK, I made the last one up). The ‘Dan’ prefix and the flag are everywhere. So why is the Danish flag so ubiquitous? To get an academic and an expat perspective, I put the question to Dr Gary Schaub, a lecturer in politics at the University of Copenhagen who is originally from the US. “In Denmark it seems that flags are a symbol of Danish identity but one that goes beyond the state. It’s about culture,” he said. “It’s different in the US where the flag is a symbol of pledged unity to the idea of the United States. The Danish attachment is to an expression of group identity.” We mused together over whether the association of the flag with birth-

days celebrates the survival of a member of the ‘Dantribe’ for another year. Perhaps belonging to the group improves survival chances, making the flag represent an evolutionary advantage? Maybe we were just over-analysing things. “I really don’t get flags for sales in shops,” Schaub said, “I mean, birthdays are fair enough, but why Netto?” “And why buses?” I added sagely. The first time I saw little flags on the front of the buses in Copenhagen coincided with me receiving an email from my daughter’s school telling me it was national Lusedag. Speaking no Danish at the time, I briefly wondered if there was a connection. Thankfully I found out it was head lice eradication day at the school before I wished anyone a Happy Lusedag. I do feel slightly inadequate, having never had much in the way of feelings for the Union Flag. Admittedly it’s been a flag-waving year in the UK, with the Olympics and the queen’s Jubilee. But aside from that, we don’t wave it all that much. It seems to have been cropping up in fashion and interiors more recently, but that’s just a passing phase. I don’t know anyone with a flagpole, and

In some places flags are so laden with symbolism they cause riots; in Denmark they’re in the corner shop it certainly would be unlikely to feature on a birthday cake. Odd then, that when going to the airport to meet family I found myself seized by the desire to wave a flag too. Unfortunately all I could find at home was a pair of Union Flag oven gloves in less than perfect condition, so I paid a visit to Dahl’s Flagfabrik at Nørreport. There in the midst of a dizzying variety of flags of the world and helpful posters about how to choose the right flagpole for you, I had a chat with Brian Nielsen, who took me through Danish Flag 101. Known as the Dannebrog, it’s the oldest flag still in use by an independent nation, having allegedly fallen from the sky during the battle of Valdemar (also Lyndanisse) in Estonia in 1219. There

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are all the usual rules other flags also have about not letting it touch the ground and folding it properly. Nielsen also told me it’s forbidden to fly the Dannebrog after nightfall, unless it’s illuminated, and you can’t fly any other flag from a pole. “There are no flag police,” Nielsen added reassuringly. “There are regulations, but it’s not law.” And why is the flag everywhere? “We’re a proud little nation,” Nielsen said. Having the flag everywhere strips it of some of its gravitas. In some places flags are so laden with symbolism they cause riots. In Denmark they’re in the corner shop. And yet, rumour has it, when the Mohammed Cartoon Crisis was taking place and the Dannebrog was being burned in various countries, people here were actually upset. Perhaps it’s a sign of Danification that even I felt a brief pang of shock one day, walking down Nyhavn early in the morning. To the side of the pavement a dog had done what doggies do and someone had put four little cocktail stick flags on the crest of each turd. Who knows, maybe it was Dandog’s birthday?

Art and civil society – new perspectives and new narratives

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Grain of Sand BY TENDAI TAGARIRA Tendai Tagarira is one of Africa’s most prolific independent authors, having penned over 16 books. Also a filmmaker and activist, he lives in exile in Denmark after receiving death threats from the Mugabe regime. He refuses to cut his hair until democracy reigns in Zimbabwe. Visit www.tendaitagarira.com for more.

IDN’T THE famous Danish thinker and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard once say: “It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things that it cannot understand ...” Art can therefore help us understand the world around us and gives us a unique opportunity to examine how artists view the world around them. For centuries, artists have left impressions of their world on rock paintings, stone sculpture and other mediums. Today these ancient artworks help us understand the bygone worlds of the Egyptian pharaohs, the Inca rulers or even Harold Bluetooth of Denmark. Fast forward to the modern day, and artistic expressions still find themselves on our street walls as graffiti, as the artist is compelled to comment on the world around them. Other artistic expressions are commercialised and hung inside art galleries or the walls of someone who can afford them. Either way, art is still saying something about the society we live in. On December 25, I taught a class in Aarhus on how civil society can use art

Many artists scream while others whisper, but does society listen? to understand what people are thinking and therefore help direct their civil efforts in an efficient manner. The conference was organised by Civilsamfund i Udvikling (CISU), the mother organisation for Danish civil society, and was attended by hundreds. Of course, not all art forms are of use to society. But some art forms rise to the occasion and question the status quo and therefore can not be ignored. For instance, during apartheid in South Africa, a little known housemaid began to sing about the conditions of black South Africans under apartheid. Her name was Miriam Makeba. “Everybody now admits that apartheid was wrong, and all I did was tell the people who wanted to know where

I come from how we lived in South Africa,” Makeba famously said. “I just told the world the truth. And if my truth then becomes political, I cant do anything about that.” Back in Makeba’s day, there was no internet and no Twitter. It took longer than today for news to travel around the world, but Makeba toured the whole world with her band, telling people about the condition of her people through music. Because she dared to tell this story, she was exiled from South Africa for nearly three decades. Makeba’s songs give a quick and detailed lecture about South Africa during her time, more so than most modern day history books on the subject. Her songs and lyrics take us to the very heart of apartheid. Without a doubt, civil society can not afford to ignore Makeba’s songs. Nor can they afford to ignore Pussy Riot in today’s Russia. Civil society can not ignore Nina Simone, Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan or Fela Kuti. These artists all have something to say, but does society listen and take heed of their message? Many artists scream

while others whisper, but does society listen? It is easy to dismiss an artist as crazy or weird, but can civil society afford to ignore the message from the arts? Art can challenge our meanings, reflect our thinking and improve our understanding. Even the non-commercial art-forms that are created to express, without regret, the graffiti on our walls! The funny pictures on our Facebook walls! the paintings in our caves the unknown painter, lone poet, singer, photographer, All have something to say! So I say to the civil society: Look to the arts! For there you shall find many answers and questions. Look to the arts, for there you will see the ailment in society! Look to the arts, for there you may find the cure! Look to the arts, for there you will discover what society is thinking! Look to the arts, for there you will find both questions and answers.

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COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

When there’s whisky in the bar – every Burns Night since 1801 PHOTOS: CLIVE THAIN

WORDS: BEN HAMILTON

Few events at this time of year encourage such an outpouring of human flesh, so it’s no wonder the tarts, sorry tartans, were out in force in such heavy numbers for yet another rousing celebration of Burns Night at the Dubliner on Strøget last week on Thursday. Featuring hairy knees protruding from bravely worn kilts, and servings of haggis washed down with pints of whisky, it was a grand night thanks to the efforts of the Irish pub’s Scottish management team and the continued support of the Diagio and Braunstein breweries. Scotland forever!

“Firmness in enduring and exertion is a character I always wish to possess,” the great man wrote. “I have always despised the whining yelp of complaint and cowardly resolve.” Dancing on the tables? We think he would have approved

Leading the celebrations again was Scottish landlord Gus, pic- Also enjoying a family night out were Doctor and his son Mass tured here with his daughter Amanda

Proving it was a British Isles affair were England’s John Bastick and Ireland’s Neil and Catherine Moore

The Scottish flags were flying proudly

Danish Clouse was back again to lend some bellow to the bagpipes

The master of ceremonies was once again Angus Rollo (right)

Mette Gorrissen and Natalie Harrisson were back again

Louise Larsen appears to have been caught by surprise

But if there was one patron exhibiting exquisite taste it was Diana Sore from Vienna

Clearly enjoying the festivities were Grant from the Dubliner (right) and Ronnie Wilson (left)

Freedom and whisky gang thegither!

Andrew would have been proud

11 ABOUT TOWN COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

The outgoing US ambassador Laurie S Fulton was among those attending the Danish premiere of ‘Lincoln’ on January 21. Pictured with her are Niels Knud Liebgott, the head of the Royal Chronological Collections at Rosenborg Slot, and Bryon C Andreasen, a visiting historian from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Illinois

The St Andrew Society of Denmark (find out more at www.skotsk.dk) celebrated Burns Night on Saturday (see page 10 for details of another, more riotous celebration two days earlier at the Dubliner) at Den Gyldne Okse in Vanløse. The occasion included haggis, kilts whisky and the bagpipes – the great Scottish poet wouldn’t have stood for anything less

The Venezuelan charge d’affaire Roger Corbacho Moreno (centre holding a Danish flag) was in fine fettle last week on Wednesday hosting ‘Democracy Day’, a celebration of a concurrent event in the South American country. Among those in attendance was Cuban ambassador Caridad Yamira Cueto Milian and her husband (far right)

The Egyptian Embassy last week on Friday celebrated the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution. Among those in attendance were (left to right) Cuban ambassador Caridad Yamira Cueto Milian, Egyptian ambassador Nabil Habashi and his wife, and Ivory Coast ambassador Mina Marie Laurent-Baldé

COMING UP SOON The Plant Hunters: Explorers, Botanists & Forgotten Heroes Folk Universitet, Niels Bohr Institut, Blegdamsvej 17, Bldg D, Cph Ø; Thu 17:15-19:00, starts Feb 14, ends March 14; www.fukbh.dk This course, taught in English, will explain how our exotic house plants travelled across Asia, Australia and the Americas to find homes in European gardens. Family and Succession Law in Denmark European Professional Women’s Network Seminar, Offices of Lund, Elmer and Sandager, Kalvebod Brygge 39-41, Cph K; Feb 20, 18:30-21:30; 150kr for non-members; register at www. epwn.etheryl.net/events/4382 Lawyers Janne Køster and Pernille Ørskov team up with the European Professional Women’s Network to share their combined expertise about the challenges of border marriages and inheritance law. Mindfulness course for expats MBSR Course, Østerbrogade 56D, Cph Ø; eight-week course on Mondays, 18:30-21:00, not April 1, starts Feb 11; 4,500kr; contact Carina Lyall at kontakt@ mindfulground.dk or 3142 4404; www.mindfulground.dk Stressed-out expats can reclaim their calm and relaxation with a new mindfulness course in English. The course is 26 hours long overall, and the price includes training materials and an additional all-day silent workshop on Sunday March 17.

Seminar: Why are the Danes so weird? Location TBA; Feb 11 17:0020:00; sign up at www.expatindenmark.com/events or email frba@di.dk; free adm, 100 kr noshow fee This seminar, a collaboration of The Copenhagen Post and Expat in Denmark, offers insight to internationals working in Denmark, as well as to Danes looking to understand how strange they seem from the outside. Studies show that around a third of the highly-skilled workers who move to Denmark are negatively surprised by the cultural differences. But what makes them so different, and how do expats crack the code of Danish society? Speaker Dennis Nørmark, an anthropologist and chief consultant at Living Institute, will address these questions at the event. A networking session after the seminar will take place from 19:00-20:00. Note that participation is free of charge, but sign-up is binding! Stand-up comedy in English The Dubliner, Amagertorv 5, Cph K;¸ Feb 7 19:00; advance tickets 90kr, at the door 120kr; call 3332 2226 for reservations Enjoy stand up comedy (in English) at The Dubliner! The lineup will feature Damian Clark, a native Australian who has written and performed in multiple television programmes, including ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired!’, and boasts two comedy awards under his belt.

The French and German embassies held a joint celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, a conciliatory agreement between the nations in 1963 to draw a line under past differences, at Skt Petri Church, followed by a reception. Pictured here (left-right) are French ambassador Veronique Bujon-Barre, German ambassador Michael Zenner, organ player Heinrich Walther and Indian ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri

The India Embassy celebrated its republic day on Saturday with speeches and delicacies, followed by a traditional flag-raising ceremony in the embassy garden. Pictured here, Indian ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri is addressing those in attendance

Entrepreneurship and Creativity Workshop Books & Company, Sofievej 1, Hellerup; Feb 20 19:00-21:00; 75kr; email signup@booksandcompany. dk to sign up An interesting and inspiring seminar on entrepreneurship.

LIVING IN AN EXPAT WORLD

Seriously Funny: Catalan Cartoon Humour under Franco Books & Company, Sofievej 1, Hellerup, Feb 7 19:00-21:00; email signup@booksandcompany.dk When the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, dictator Francisco Franco’s regime sought to eliminate the public use of Catalan and promotion of the culture – and many of their cartoons went with it. Rhiannon McGlade, a PhD in Catalan political cartoons, will examine examples of these cartoons and consider their underlying political messages.

It’s really not you – it’s them

Forced Confessions – A Documentary from Iran Cinemateket, Gothersgade 55, Cph K; Feb 2 16:45-18:45; 75kr, 65kr for Cinemateket members; tickets available at www.dfi.dk Iranian journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari was forced to make a televised false confession of espionage in 2009, and now he has turned the experience into a documentary entitled Forced Confessions. This event, hosted by the Danish Institute for International Studies, will feature an introduction from Bahari, a screening of the doc and a Q&A session with the audience.

JESSICA HANLEY

Belgium’s Tiny Maerschalk, who has worked for the International Community networking platform since its foundation in 2008, knows how it feels to settle in a new country. Dedicated to improving conditions for new arrivals, here she shares her insights about the issues that mean most to internationals in Denmark

A

S I HAVE said before, I really find surveys about internationals in Denmark interesting. Once being a Young International Professional (YIP) myself, I was really curious about International Community’s recent survey about this specific group of internationals. YIPs are characterised as young international knowledge workers who came here by themselves. Not surprisingly, they emphasise networking more than people who bring their family and are very interested in connecting with other internationals as well as Danes. And here it gets interesting. How do you connect with Danes? We all know the popular notions about Danes being cold, closed off and that it is impossible to strike up a casual conversation with the cashier at the grocery store or the lady in the elevator. We have probably all experienced that to some degree. In the beginning, I made the common mistake of thinking it was me – because I’m foreign. But it’s not me or you, it’s actually them. It doesn’t matter if you are from Athens or Aarhus,

upon arrival, and I really wish most Danes are just reserved. Danes don’t freely chat to someone had told me this ‘inside each other as you see many information’ when I first arrived Americans do, and they don’t ask and asked myself many questions how you are doing. It’s just not about how to build up a new life who they are. But that doesn’t here. It took me a while to setmean that you can’t get closer to tle and establish a network, and them eventually; you just need I was beginning to have second to be patient. Over time, they thoughts about my stay. Fortunately, I figured out a way to will come round. connect with The YIP the Danes and survey particirealised it wasn’t pants recomme as a foreigner mend learning Danish, attend- Danes don’t freely chat they were closing out. ing social events to each other as you If you are a and joining an Young Internaassociation or see many Americans doing volunteer do, and they don’t ask tional Professional in Denwork as great ways to develop how you are doing. It’s mark, it may seem hard to a network out- just not who they are establish a new side your office network. Then and make your stay more enjoyable, and I can again, I guess it isn’t really that attest to that. When I joined different from any other country Aarhus Sailing Club, I slowly – here you just have to walk that made some progress with the extra mile outside office hours Danes, and over time I made when your colleagues go home great friendships through the and take care of their own. So club. But beware; once Danes get out there and join that event open up, they are really hard or club and make your stay here to get rid of again. They make more gratifying. You might even end up with a Danish husband, friends for life. The survey also suggests that kids and a house in Beder ina ‘social buddy’ could be helpful stead of Brussels.

12

SPORTS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

Big game special: The Great Dane on staying sane in retirement Factfile | Morten Andersen Records: • Points in a career: 2,544 • Games played: 382 • Consecutive games on the scoresheet: 360 • Field goals: 565 • Field goal attempts: 709 Pro Bowl Records: • Points: 45 • Field goals: 10 • Appearances by a kicker: 7

BJARKE SMITH-MEYER Ahead of the Super Bowl this Sunday, we catch up with Morten Andersen, the all-time leading NFL points scorer, to discuss the highs and lows of one of the sport’s most enduring careers

T

HEY CALLED him ‘The Great Dane’. Which isn’t too surprising considering the number of sporting records Morten Andersen broke during his 30-year NFL career as a kicker. You name it, he’s done it. Not only is Andersen the alltime leading scorer in NFL history, but he also has one of the most successful field goal conversion rates. While the 52-year-old narrowly missed out on the NFL Hall of Fame this year, it was only his first year of eligibility for a place, and he is strongly tipped to be included soon as only the fourth kicker in NFL history, and unsurprisingly the first Dane. Nevertheless, despite his legendary status in the game, Andersen is quick to confirm he is a mere mortal. “You know,” Andersen told the Copenhagen Post from his office in Atlanta in the kind of admission you might more normally expect

from a character in ‘The Office’ sitcom. “I always liked languages. For a long time I wanted to be a translator.” Not quite the type of comment you would expect from the only man to hold a career statistical franchise record for two NFL teams (New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons). And it gets worse. According to the all-time points scorer in the NFL, who on 565 occasions held his nerve to kick a field goal, his career boiled down to one factor: luck! According to Andersen, his American Dream was one he sleepwalked into. When he moved to the US as an exchange student to attend the Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, he had no plans or ambitions to become an NFL success story. He hadn’t even kicked an American football before. Andersen was raised in the rural Jutland town of Struer, where he had showed promise in athletics − particularly the long jump, gymnastics and handball. “Of all those sports, I was by far the best at handball,” Andersen explained. “I lacked the speed and technique to really succeed at soccer but had the physique, power and jumping ability to thrive within handball.” A handball player who knew how to kick a ball is hardly the

background you would expect from a man who was two days short of becoming the oldest NFL player to play pro ball. “It was all down to luck,” Andersen admitted. “And that’s not false modesty. I’d never kicked a pigskin until I arrived in America. It just turned out I was quite good at it.” “Quite good” would end up being somewhat of an understatement. After joining his high school’s football team, Andersen and his team went on to win 12 out of 13 games, catching the eyes of lurking scouts. “Had it not been for that scholarship offer from the Michigan State scout, I’d simply have gone back to Denmark,” Andersen said. “So yeah, like I said. Total luck.” Luck may have launched Andersen’s career, but he was on his own when it came to adapting to the culture shock that lay ahead of him. Drive-thrus, TV dinners, pick-up trucks and the faster pace of life were all things that caught Andersen completely off guard. “Everything was basically the opposite of Denmark,” Andersen explained. “I really got into trouble at my high school prom, for example. I didn’t realise you were only supposed to bring one date. So I brought several. That didn’t go down so well.” Dating aside, there were differences within American sports that Andersen noticed immedi-

ately − ones he was not overly enthused in adopting. “The competitive aspect of sport is on a whole other level here in the States,” Andersen said. “Here, the result is what always seems to matter at the end of the day. The process and quality of the experience seems to somehow get lost.” It’s a truth that seems to be as relevant today as it was when Andersen began playing professional football. Only last year, it was revealed that Andersen’s previous employers, the New Orleans Saints, who he left in 1994, had a lucrative ‘bounty system’ in place in which players could win thousands of dollars should they injure their opposition players enough to leave the pitch. “People get so lost in winning that everything else seems to be thrown out of the window,” Andersen explained. “In Denmark, on the other hand, you play sports together to socialise and have fun. But that’s not the case in America, and it’s the kids who ultimately suffer from that. My own included.” While Andersen is raising his family in Georgia, he maintains strong ties with Denmark, particularly in his work to support Denmark’s højskole programmes to encourage the country’s youth to mingle together while promoting a healthy lifestyle. “These programmes are not only physically healthy but mentally, too,” Andersen said.

Honours: • Three time All Pro (1st Team) • Seven time Pro Bowl • 1986 and 1995 Golden Toe Award • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team • NFL 1990s All-Decade Team • New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame • Waleter Camp All-Century Team (college) Super Bowl appearance: Losing finalist with the Atlanta Falcons to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII.

“Competition is much less of a factor in that scenario and that’s why I’m particularly hopeful that my kids will go to Denmark at some point.” And maybe Andersen, as well. “I’d kill for some herring and schnapps,” he confessed. “But forget the cold and dark winters. No-one wants that.” Andersen’s departure from the Saints, where he had become surplus to requirements, was a low point in the Dane’s career. Few then would have guessed that he would go on to play for another 14 years. Twelve years of service to the Saints, in which he had amassed a record breaking 1,318 points including 302 field goals, and been selected for six Pro Bowls, was suddenly all forgotten. ‘Mr Automatic’ was on his way out. “The Saints made a huge mistake letting me go,” Andersen said defiantly. “But they paid for that. After the Atlanta Falcons signed me, we went on to beat the Saints ten times in a row.” And to really rub it in, Andersen became the first player in NFL history to kick three field goals of over 50 yards in a single game − against none other than the Saints in December 1995. But age waits for no man, not even the Great Dane. After 30 years, it was time to hang up his kicking boots. Andersen struggled to cope. “It felt like dealing with death,” Andersen explained. “I

had to see a therapist to help me through it. I’m okay now. But there was a big void that had to be filled.” This is a well-documented struggle for many athletes, who often suffer from depression and a sense of loss once they leave their focused and regimented lives as sportspeople. Andersen was no different. “Structure just falls away,” he said. “Suddenly, every day is Saturday. Then boredom starts to creep in. And when you can’t satisfy that boredom, you quickly become depressed with life and very irritable, which then affects everyone else around you.” Nowadays, Andersen has managed to fill that void by going into business and becoming a family man. We asked if he has embraced the average American way of life after all. “Not completely,” Andersen insisted. “I’m determined to ensure that my household’s family culture stays as Danish as ever. There are no TV dinners in my house. There’s no way I’ll let that consumer culture take over my Danish values.” Looking to the future, the former handball player remains open-minded and trusts in fate. “Throughout my career I always let the game play me, not the other way around,” he said. “I may have retired from the NFL, but that won’t change my philosophy. If anything, I’ll just let life play me like the game did.”

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Same old story for Okore

Cornelius canes Canadians

Danes lose dignity, Wilbek his temper

AHEAD OF THE closure of the international transfer window on Thursday, rumours continue to persist that defender Jores Okore will leave FC Nordsjaelland. Fulham is the current favourite to sign him. Meanwhile, in other news, the national futsal side have won their first ever Euro qualifier, beating Albania 4-2, and AGF Aarhus is reportedly on the verge of signing a partnership deal with Manchester City.

FC COPENHAGEN youngster Andreas Cornelius scored a hat-trick on Saturday as a Danish League select side beat their Canadian counterparts 4-0 in Arizona. Kasper Lorentzen was the other scorer. Cornelius, who has scored 14 goals in his debut Superliga season and is rumoured to be a transfer target of both Arsenal and AC Milan, was due to face a Mexican League select team on Wednesday evening.

SPAIN LED FROM start to finish as Denmark finished up on the wrong end of the most lopsided game in World Handball Championship final history, losing 19-35 on Sunday night. The Danes are now zero for three in world finals. The Danish coach, Ulrik Wilbek, was so stunned by the horrendous performance – the biggest defeat of his illustrious career – that he didn’t show up to the post-match press confer-

ence, drawing criticism from his Spanish counterpart. The Danish Handball Federation contended that he was ill, but when questioned about it on the following day, Wilbek lost the plot, furiously berating the reporter. On a night when it all went wrong for Denmark, they can look back on one positive at least. Winger Anders Eggert finished the tournament as top goal scorer with 55 goals.

BUSINESS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

13

Opposition: Privatise DONG Huge annual coffee trolley losses Government has rejected listing the nation’s energy providers despite five years of failed investments, while one expert suggests that the time is not right

add to DSB’s financial woes

DONG ENERGY A/S

CHRISTIAN WENANDE

RAY WEAVER Rail operator tempted to discontinue snacks and beverages sales after nearly a decade of losses fuelled in part by the 475,000 kroner annual salary of senior attendants

T

HE CENTRE-RIGHT political wing is looking to privatise the stateowned energy provider, DONG Energy. The former government, led by Venstre (V) and Konservative (K), was forced to drop a 2008 plan to list the company on the stock exchange after the financial crisis took hold, but V now wants DONG to be listed publicly, provided that the state maintains a controlling stake in the company. “We can easily see the perspective in gaining capital and knowledge from the outside by having DONG listed at the right time. It will give the company an opportunity to grow when people have their own money at stake,” V’s financial spokesperson Peter Christensen told Berlingske newspaper. “But it’s important that the state remains in control.” While Christensen and V don’t want the state to lose the controlling stake and let DONG fall into foreign hands, opposition libertarian party Liberal Alliance (LA) believes that DONG should be completely privatised – particularly given the company’s many failed investments. “All companies can make poor investments, but the trouble is that Danes are forced to invest in DONG through taxes. Danes should be free to choose whether to invest in DONG,” Ole Birk Olesen, a LA spokesperson, told Børsen newspaper. “The losses aren’t just DONG’s losses, but the taxpayers’ too. Private ownership is a clear advantage.” Last week, the state auditor’s office, Rigsrevisionen, published a scathing report about DONG’s investments and criticised the passive role of the Finance Ministry in overseeing the company. DONG’s continued plight has also affected its overall value, down from 70 billion kroner in 2008 to 35 billion kroner today – a situation that was compounded recently when energy regulators ruled that the transportation tariffs charged by Denmark’s leading energy company were too steep. According to one financial

S

DONG’s investments in gas-powered plants have cost the company approximately five million kroner

analyst, DONG won’t be ready for a listing on the stock exchange for another couple of years. “DONG needs to turn around the negative developments and reach stable and solid profits,” Jacob Pedersen, a financial analyst from Sydbank, told Berlingske. “At the same time, the stock market needs to have been stable for at least one year, so we’re talking earliest 2015, though 2016 or 2017 is more realistic.” But despite DONG’s ongoing troubles, the government has said that it has no plans to privatise the company. “I haven’t seen any strong argument for privatising DONG,” John Dyrby Paulsen, a spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne (S), told Berlingske. Berlingske newspaper has uncovered a number of dubious DONG investments since 2010 that have attracted criticism from Rigsrevisionen. Five of the largest failed moves that have cost DONG and the state billions of kroner are:

gas stockpiling contracts.

Investments in gas-powered plants (about five billion kroner) In its last two annual reports alone, DONG has recorded losses of two billion kroner for its gas-powered plants. The low prices of coal and CO2 resulted in gas-powered plants being less profitable than coal-powered plants. Some 2.9 billion kroner has also been lost to unprofitable

Better Place (about 0.2 billion kroner) DONG admitted that it hasn’t seen any profit from its 200 million kroner investment in the embattled Better Place electric car project and stated recently it would not invest more money into the company, although it would keep its 17 percent stake in the company.

Scrapped coal plant in Greifswald (about 1.1 billion kroner) Plans to establish a coal plant in Greifswald, Germany had to be dropped late in the project phase. DONG confirmed losses of around one billion kroner, but never revealed the precise number in its accounts. Fibre-optic broadband (1.5 billion kroner) A fibre-optic broadband project ended up costing DONG over 800 million kroner in losses. It then sold the project off to TDC for 600 million kroner less than what it had invested in it. Inbicon (about 0.5 billion kroner) DONG ventured into bio-ethanol with the Inbicon plant in Kalundborg – the first plant in the world able to make bio-ethanol from straw. DONG’s investment is considered a write-off because the plant won’t produce commercially.

INCE state-owned rail operator DSB took over the operation of the coffee trolleys on the company’s trains, they have produced an annual deficit of between 86 and 115 million kroner each year, BT tabloid reports. The combined loss since 2004 to operate the trolleys that sell coffee, drinks, sandwiches, magazines and candy have now nearly reached one billion kroner. The Transport Ministry has released a statement saying that salaries are the major cause of the deficit. According to Anette Haugaard, the head of rail operations at DSB, the annual salaries of up to 475,000 kroner paid to those who push the glorified mobile kiosks through the trains are breaking the bank. “We have streamlined this area in the past few years, but it’s just not possible to sell kiosk

products from small trolleys using a staff who are much more expensive than the staff in a kiosk,” Haugaard told BT. DSB is considering cutting its losses by closing the carts on all but the longest trips. DSB is currently more than 17 billion kroner in the red, and political leaders are lining up to take pot shots at a train steward salary that is higher than what many police officers and nurses are paid. “I am confident that in a few years DSB will show a profit,” Radikale traffic spokesperson Andreas Steenberg told BT. “The carts have shown a 925 million kroner loss in eight years. They look like an obvious place to start.” Haugaard said the stewards do more than just sell coffee, like checking tickets and providing security. “Our staff put in a tremendous effort,” she told TV2 News. “They are not the problem.” Professor Casper Rose from Copenhagen Business School said it is a major failing by DSB’s leadership to allow the deficit to grow so large. “I do not believe a private company would have stood by and worked up such a loss,” Rose told BT.

Several have suggested that DSB could outsource the coffee trolleys and let them be operated by a private contractor. DSB has contacted several potential partners, but has yet to find a taker. “We have not been able to find an external partner who will operate under the current conditions,” Haugaard told JyllandsPosten newspaper. “We are no worse than many other train companies; nobody is showing a profit, but we believed that our customers and the politicians expected us to have goods to purchase on the trains.” DSB has engaged in several firing rounds over the past few years and has asked its remaining workers to combine tasks in an attempt to reduce its deficit. Haugaard said that the wages currently paid to the trolley operators was negotiated between DSB and the union Dansk Jernbaneforbund. She said negotiations concerning DSB employee wages were ongoing, but she declined to speculate on whether wages would come down. She said that for the carts to turn a profit, the operators would have to earn a wage similar to the one paid to a worker in a regular kiosk.

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14

Culture

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

1 - 7 February 2013

Rikke K Mathiassen The Brits aren’t the only ones who tend to be type-cast as a villain – the Danes have that problem too. But all that might be about to change

www.hbo.com

How One-Eyed Mads and co look set to break the mould

A

To be fair, Coster-Waldau (seen here in ‘Game of Thrones’) had a crack at playing a hero in the US series ‘New Amsterdam’, but it was rubbish

leading the way, Danish actors have of late carved out a niche playing villains – in Mikkelsen’s case, very often with one eye! Later this year, ‘One-Eyed Mads’ is set to become a household name in the US playing the title character in the forthcoming NBC series ‘Hannibal’ about the serial-killing doctor

from the Thomas Harris novels. Additionally, Mikkelsen played the main Bond villain in ‘Casino Royale’, a franchise that Ulrik Thomsen (‘The World is not Enough’) and Jesper Christensen (‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’) have also appeared in as adversaries of the English agent. Meanwhile,

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (‘Game of Thrones’) and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (‘Angels & Demons’) are also well-established villains stateside. “They have a slight Danish accent, which is almost impossible to eliminate,” Agger explained. “Therefore it usually seems much more obvious for

Who is … Jørgen De Mylius? DR/Bjarne Bergius Hermansen

potential new agreement between national state broadcaster DR and American TV network HBO will lead to less Danish actors being typecast as the villain, according to Gunhild Agger, a media researcher from Aalborg University. Agger believes the as-yet unsigned agreement, which according to a report in Politiken will see the broadcasters coproducing a drama that will star equal proportions of both Danish and English-speaking actors, will enable domestic performers to play a greater variety of roles in dramas seen by a considerably larger audience. “When starring in American movies, Danish actors traditionally get cast as the villain,” Agger told The Copenhagen Post. “If a future co-production with HBO has a set division of American and Danish characters, this is what it will take to give the Danes a chance to prove their worth in America not just playing ‘the bad guy’.” With Mads Mikkelsen

the American producers to offer them the roles of the villain instead of the hero, when they are looking for new actors for their productions.” According to Politiken, HBO has actually asked the Danish scriptwriters to come up with an idea for a TV drama with a similar narrative form and aesthetics to ‘The Killing’. The plan is to show the new TV series both on the American cable channel and on its Scandinavian streaming service, HBO Nordic, which was launched in December. In Agger’s opinion, a co-production in both the English and Danish languages will be a unique chance for Danish TV drama to reach a much broader audience. “Normally it is extremely difficult to enter the American TV market. They prefer remaking the international TV series they buy, like they did with ’The Killing’,” Agger said. “A co-operation will provide Danish actors with a lot of exposure.” However, she warned that it might be difficult to repeat the winning formula of ‘The Killing’. “They need to be careful to not lose the innovative thinking that has become a trademark of Danish TV drama,” she said. “The question is whether it will still be able to do this while adapting to the co-operation with their American business partner.”

If you were to say he was Denmark’s version of Dick Clark, you wouldn’t be far off. Starting at the age of 16, and for the past 50 years, de Mylius has been the nation’s leading radio and TV host. He is best known for hosting eleven Danish national qualifiers (1978-88) for the Eurovision Song Contest. So that makes him 66. What has he done lately? Fans of Eurovision will have seen him during Saturday’s Danish national qualifier. Although he’s long since given up the stage to the scantily clad women demanded by today’s viewer, his opinion of what songs have hit potential is still widely respected. As a jury member, his vote went to the

eventual winner. He started at 16? Like in his basement? His first involvement with radio was public broadcaster DR’s newly-created popular radio station P3. De Mylius, then an avid listener of radio broadcasts from the UK and pirate stations like Radio Luxembourg, wrote to the station less than a month after it took to the airwaves on 1 January 1963, complaining about its selection of music. He was later interviewed on the air and then hired to host his own show, ‘Efter skoletid’ (after school), which he used to popularise names like The Beatles, Pat Boone, Cliff Richard and Elvis. He’s been on DR’s payroll ever since, having hosted any number of TV and radio shows dealing with music, including a chart show, which he is credited with popularising here. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Nowadays, de Mylius comes off as being squeaky clean, but like any long-term relationship, he and DR had their problems. In the ‘60s he was rejected by conservative voices at DR, who didn’t consider rock to be music. On the other hand, he was the subject of protests by those on the cultural left, who sought to get him fired because

he didn’t play enough politically orientated music. He also said he frequently violated DR regulations by airing certain songs he knew were popular abroad, but weren’t permitted on the air in Denmark due to licensing restrictions. In the early days, he recalls having to bring his own records because DR didn’t have copies of some of the most popular albums. Does he try to keep up with modern music? In a recent radio interview, he said he tried to keep up and admitted he didn’t like most of what he heard. At the same time, though, he said the lesson he learned as a teenager fighting against preconceived adult notions made him unwilling to reject the value of any form of music. So no embarrassing public efforts to stay young? Even though he says he’s got no plans to retire, he admits that he’s not young anymore. He still has two weekly radio programmes, but they are marketed towards the same listeners who listened to him back in the ‘60s. Even though musically he sticks to his own generation, in his personal life, he’s not so strict. His wife is 17 years his junior – something he credits with keeping him lively.

DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

1 - 7 February 2013

15

The bitter-sweet life of a writer who gave schoolyard bullies their just desserts

GYLDENDAL

Ole Lund Kirkegaard wrote 13 books – given the circumstances of his death, it proved to be an unlucky number

Kirkegaard took inspiration from his time at school: both as a pupil and a teacher

MARK WALKER

a long leash at home. He was allowed to do many things that others in the neighbourhood were forbidden to do: their garden was at his disposal and he freely climbed the trees, carved totem poles and once built a miniature circus. They lived in a small town 25km outside of Aarhus, and his writings indicate a nostalgic fondness for these smaller communities and their inhabitants. The teachers often get a rough ride, but other public servants such as priests, firemen and doctors are represented as kind people who

There aren’t many people who can claim to have died in a place that bears their name, but this country’s second most distinguished children’s writer is one of them

O

N THE evening of 23 March 1979, a teacher stopped by a small watering hole in Stenderup − a tiny village in East Jutland. After consuming his considerable fill of alcohol, he braved the walk home. Despite the month, winter was still in full swing with freezing temperatures, bitter winds and icy roads to contend with. The alcohol in full effect and the warmth of the bar quickly leaving him, he soon became desperate to find shelter. Only a church stood nearby. He approached it, but on closer inspection the teacher found the church to be closed and despite his best efforts, he could not gain entrance. Tired and unsteady, he went around the church to find a shortcut home. He was met by snow drifts that prevented him from reaching his house. It was on the lawn outside the church that a gravedigger found the teacher’s body the next morning, frozen. There were marks on the church door where the teacher had tried to kick and claw his way in. Furthermore, the gravedigger recognised the body, telling his wife that he thought it was the famous writer Ole Lund Kirkegaard. Born in Aarhus in 1940, he was just 38 years of age when he succumbed to hyperthermia that night. He had only enough time to grace us with 13 of his books, which were exclusively written for children, but this was enough to secure his reputation as one of Denmark’s, if not the world’s, greatest children’s authors. He left a legacy of cherished works (both written and illustrated)

that will remain in circulation for generations to come and whose reputation in Denmark is rivalled only by those of the great Hans Christian Andersen. Many of the books have been translated into several languages, while several − including ‘Lille Virgil’ (‘Little Virgil’), ‘GummiTarzan’ (‘Rubber-Tarzan’), ‘Otto er et næsehorn’ (‘Otto is a Rhino’), ‘Albert’ and most recently ‘Orla Frøsnapper’ (‘Orla Frogsnapper’) − have been adapted for the screen. It all began in June 1966 with an open invite from Politiken newspaper to determine “Who can write the best short story for children aged seven to 15?” Already a teacher at that point, Ole won the competition with ‘Dragen’ (Dragon) and followed it up with ‘Lille Virgil’, starting a long line of successful publications. He remained a teacher until 1977 (after which he went on the road to lecture) and often read out loud his own writing for the pupils, but it was perhaps a strange profession for one who, as a pupil himself, had grown up disillusioned with the school system. Indeed, many of the antagonists in Kirkegaard’s stories are school teachers or schoolyard bullies. The answer lies in the allegiance he felt towards his pupils; in many ways, he was one of them − rather than a member of the adult world. In fact, much of the conflict that occurs in his books is fuelled by clashes that occur between the regimented adult world and the curious chaos of childhood. He once said of his work, “My main motivation is describing the relationship between child and adult.” In perhaps his most celebrated work, ‘Gummi-Tarzan’, during a face-off between a teacher and pupil, we find particular contempt for “those who have completely forgotten how it is to be small and scared”. The story of ‘Gummi-Tarzan’ is a

classic example of the themes, characters and (crucially) the humour that occur in most of his books: Ivan is a short, weedy loner, he’s constantly bullied by other kids because he’s dyslexic (a condition Kirkegaard himself suffered from), he can’t spit very far and he has no interest in playing football. To top it all, his father is angry that his stupid, puny son is nothing like his idol Tarzan and accordingly refers to him as ‘rubber Tarzan’. When Ivan meets a witch, she grants him one wish. Without hesitation he uses it to take his revenge on all who have wronged him. Certainly it would seem that Kirkegaard posits himself as someone who gives voice to the underdog or the loser. He empowers the weak, the lonely and the unloved. All of his characters exist on the periphery of society, often representing the anarchic elements of nature in opposition to the rigorous structures of the imposing adult world. He rallies against notions of normality, conventionalism and all those who have forgotten how it is to be a child and be full of curiosity and wonder. Often he gives the grown-ups a taste of their own medicine, and he has a particular knack for exposing the absurdities and ridiculous contradictions of adult behaviour. One might be forgiven for imagining Kirkegaard’s own upbringing was particularly strict, but that wasn’t apparently the case. He had liberal parents, Neils and Ellen, who gave him

would freely give of their time. The chief of police in ‘Otto is a Rhino’ is one such example. While his works are brimming with playful humour, there’s an undeniable melancholy

that pervades each one. At the time of his death, Kirkegaard had, for only three months prior, been separated from his wife, Anne Lise, with whom he had two young daughters. Since the split and giving up teaching, his drinking had increased, and although rumours of suicide were quickly dismissed, the impression one gets is that of a sensitive man who fell foul of his own shadow. As well as actually dying in a kirkegaard, it is ironic that he himself should die quite literally as an outsider who for the first time wanted to get inside, in a small village of around 400 inhabitants, much like the ones he affectionately wrote about. But unlike in one of his books, there was unfortunately no kindly public servant to come to Kirkegaard’s aid that night in 1979 to rescue him in the same manner he would have surely afforded one of his protagonists.

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