Lund NFGL network visits Danish Parliament

Local NFGL networks have been formed - and they're already busy. The Lund NFGL Network took a trip to Danish Parliament, learning about a somewhat remarkable history of Danish democracy.

Christiansborg Palace, where nowadays the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) is situated, had been suffering from fire and other destruction for many centuries. But finally, in 1918 the present manifestation was built in neo-baroque style. However, as some people might say, bad karma and fate made its evil deal, and in 1992 one part of the palace was ruined by fire again.

Anyway, Danish сitizens used to call this place “the cradle of democracy”.

The Parliament consists of 179 members and there were two chambers until the constitutional reform in 1953 when the members of the Upper Chamber, mainly large estate owners, were dismissed.

Eventually, during our guided tour on 25th of January, arranged especially for the NFGL members of Lund University, we were informed that the Danish democracy could be quite cruel sometimes.

For instance, once the issue of a protection of children’s rights was being debated, and there were many elderly people who had come to support the reform. This discussion was so intense that the elderly started shouting and the Parliament staff had to call police… Can you imagine how equipped and well-armed the policemen were when they arrived to the Parliament to detain these people? 

Another incident occurred when the MPs were debating the rights of birds in cages! One visitor just let birds fly, and they proceeded to crap on the heads of the MPs. That was really funny for media, but not for MPs and Green Peace activists. So, yes, this is called Danish democracy! 

Afterwards, we also visited the Tower of Christiansborg, the highest tower in the city, which was built in 1928.

Comparing to the other two parliaments I’ve already visited in Sweden and Germany, the most democratic, in my opinion, is Swedish Riksdag. Danish Folketinget I would put in second place, and German Bundestag – in third (because you can only visit a roof there).

But if you want to arrange your tour to these places, it is very easy to do, just write an e-mail to a contact person:

[email protected]– German Bundestag

[email protected]– Danish Folketinget

[email protected]– Swedish Riksdag.

Galyna Paliychuk, The Head of the Board of the NFGL network in Lund


Swedish politician condemns Denmark’s ‘shit sandwich’ sewage plan

Copenhagen's water utility has been asked to postpone a plan to dump 290,000 cubic meters of untreated raw sewage into the Øresund Strait in the face of outrage from citizens and politicians in both Sweden and Denmark.

Swedish politician condemns Denmark's 'shit sandwich' sewage plan
Swimmers taking part in the Øresund Challenge back in 2011. Photo: Dennis Lehmann/Ritzau Scanpix
After a meeting on Monday afternoon, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Copenhagen's environmental mayor, said she had asked civil servants to ask Hofor postpone the release until the autumn. 
“There has been an opportunity for Hofor to postpone the test work they will be doing until October,” she told state broadcaster DR. “That is why I have asked the administration to demand it.” 
Politicians in both Denmark and Sweden were up in arms on Sunday when details of the plan became known, forcing the utility to first postpone the release by 24 hours, and now postpone it further. 
Niels Paarup-Petersen, a member of parliament for Sweden's Centre Party, told The Local that the plan was just the latest in a long list of insults Denmark had thrown at its Scandinavian neighbour. 
“We’ve been served shit sandwich after shit sandwich over the last couple of years, but we've never been served so much shit in one go as this,” he said.  
Jacob Næsager, a city politician with Denmark's Conservative party, said that it was astonishing that the plan had been approved. 
“Many people want to swim in the Øresund, and I think it is extremely disgusting that people literally have to swim in other people's shit,” he said. 
Finn Rudaizky, a city politician for the Danish People's Party on the city's environment committee, called the plan “completely crazy”.
After Olsen announced the decision to postpone the plan, Morten Østergaard leader of Denmark's Social Liberal party congratulated those who had spotted it and launched a protest. 
“Good God, that was hanging by a thread, but hats off for the action,” he said. “'Shit good', as Niels Paarup from our sister party wrote.” 

Paarup-Petersen told The Local that he recognised that the utility had to empty the sewer to allow construction to go ahead at Svanemølleholmen in Nordhavn.
But he said there was no need to dump so much sewage in one go right at the start of the summer swimming season.  
“They can spread it out over a longer period, they can do it in a better season when people won't be swimming and there might be better currents,” he said. “It would also be possible to plan it a bit better so it will be released over more days.” 
He said he planned to work together with the Danish Social Liberal party to put in place greater environmental protections around the Øresund. 
“In the long term we have to find solutions, because there are solutions that can mean that the Øresund no longer needs to be a sewer,” he said. 
In a memo to the mayor issued on Monday, city civil servants said that they could not withdraw the permit issued to Hofor, as it had been drawn up in accordance with the correct procedures. 
Hedeager Olsen said she would now launch ask a team of  external experts in law and the environment to investigate why the city's civil servants believed it was right to authorise the discharge. 
“When the administration today concludes in a note that they believe the case management has been correct, and at the same time you hear environmental professors and others say that it is not, it is important to get the case investigated at a fundamental level,” she told DR.