• Sweden's news in English

Danish minister patches up 'plastergate' with gift

Sophie Inge · 1 Sep 2015, 12:07

Published: 01 Sep 2015 12:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen made the tongue-in-cheek peace offering to his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallström during a climate conference in Alaska, Denmark’s Politiken reported.

“I brought a small box of heart-coloured plasters to Margot,” Jensen was quoted as saying by the paper.

The quarrel, known as "plastergate" in the Danish press, dates back to mid-August when Jensen posted a link to an article about Swedish pharmacies introducing a range of dark-coloured plaster on Facebook alongside the comment: “I’m once again happy that I don’t live in Sweden….”

Pharmacy giant Apoteket's decision to introduce the plasters followed criticism by Swedish blogger Paula Dahlberg who told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio in August that the company was contributing to racism by only offering shades of beige plasters on its shelves.

"The fact she said that demonstrates that there are heated discussions about immigrants and refugees right now," Communications Director Eva Fernvall told The Local at the time, adding that the national chemist chain was committed to reducing discrimination.

But the decision caused a massive stir in Denmark, with the Danish minister for children’s affairs and education, Ellen Trane Nørby, also weighing in on the issue, comparing it to Sweden’s recent censoring of ‘racist’ elements of Pippi Longstocking stories. 

Her and Jensen's comments caused a media storm and the news quickly made it into the Swedish press with several high profile critics calling on Jensen to apologize.

READ MORE: Dark Swedish plasters cause a stir in Denmark

Sweden's own foreign minister Margot Wallström attempted to put a bandaid over the latest row by suggesting that Jensen had crossed a line, but noting that the 44-year-old had simply made his plaster-related blunder as a result of inexperience.

"I'm thinking that he is new to the job as foreign minister. You have to forgive those kinds of transgressions. I am sure he will learn," Wallström told the TT newswire at the time.

Jensen also defended himself on Danish channel TV2, explaining that his comments were supposed to be "tongue in cheek" but adding: "I'm happy to live in a country where we debate more important things than the colours of a plaster."

Story continues below…

Commenting on his choice of present on Monday, Jensen said: “I hope that we can draw a humouristic line under it. There’s obviously not so much space for humour in foreign policy.”

“It was an attempt to make a tongue-in-cheek comment on a Danish debate. Sometimes it is hard to see the irony in the written word. It's a lot easier when you speak directly [with someone].”

Wallström was not available for comment when contacted by The Local.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available