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Posts tagged with: Denmark

Denmark’s possible EU Patent Court referendum – an opportunity?

[Please note: this is not a piece about referendums in general, and nor does it call into question my overall position as a referendum-sceptic. It relates to a very specific Danish case.]

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 13.58.06The Danish Ministry of Justice, in the final page of this note (in Danish, PDF), has once more thrust the issue of referendums in Danish-EU relations back onto the political agenda. The judgment of the Ministry is that ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court [PDF] would be a transfer of sovereignty from Denmark to the European Union, meaning Article 20 of the Danish Constitution applies. This stipulates that any such transfer of sovereignty must be approved either by a super majority of 5/6 of the Danish parliament, the Folketing, or a referendum must be held. A summary of the constitutional implications can be found in Politiken in English here, and more about the whole issue of the Court and EU patents from Wikipedia here.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt’s reaction to the Ministry’s opinion was rather predictable – that the Patent Court issue is so technical that a referendum should not be held, and parliament should ratify the agreement. Quotes from her, in Danish, from DR can be found here.

Thorning’s problem is that there are three parties in the Folketing that would oppose the ratification – the Danish People’s Party (22 seats), Liberal Alliance (9 seats) and the Red-Green Alliance (12 seats). Opposition from the People’s Party, and one of the other two, would be enough to prevent the 5/6 majority. So – surprise, surprise – it is the People’s Party who have been strongest demanding a referendum (here, in Danish), and the Liberal Alliance has made the same demand according to BT (here, in Danish).

So what should Thorning do?

She could, like Lars Løkke Rasmussen before her, try to deal with the People’s Party, giving them something in return for their support of the Patent Court. The problem is that her government was elected in large part to break the reliance that Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s previous government had on the People’s Party – dealing with them would look like a betrayal. Denmark could theoretically not ratify, and put itself in the same position as Italy and Spain and not be part of the Court, but as Thorning has rightly said, for an open, small economy with intellectually intensive industries like Denmark this latter option makes no sense.

So – like it or not – Thorning is likely to have to go down the route of holding a referendum about the Patent Court. This, if played right, could actually be an opportunity. This is because the Patent Court referendum could be bundled together with votes on two of Denmark’s three EU opt-outs – on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters. Thorning’s government said it would hold a referendum on these opt outs anyway, but in 2012 postponed a decision to do so until turbulence in the Eurozone decreased. The need to hold a vote on the Patent Court could therefore present the opportunity to vote on all three matters at the same time, in three separate questions on the ballot paper.

While I am no fan of referendums, surely going for a three-question referendum on the two opt outs and the Patent Court would be a better bet than having to deal with the Danish People’s Party?

[Note: other EU countries face similar issues with the Patent Court. Ireland will hold a referendum on the issue, as confirmed on 1st May, and could this issue even trigger the UK’s referendum lock?]

Denmark is where I live. But I think it will never be home.

carlsbergIt was a normal enough Copenhagen situation; that’s what makes it frustrating. I was introduced to some friends of my partner’s in Copenhagen yesterday evening. Two of them persisted in speaking Danish conscious that I did not understand what they were saying, and the third – rather than politely enquiring about anything – proceeded to lambast me in English for not speaking Danish, asking me why I was not spending my whole summer going to an intensive course to make sure that I learn.

The problem, I have come to see, is that I actually do not want to learn the language, because actually I do not want to be in Denmark. Actually, taking that to its logical conclusion, I am actually not really in Denmark now. Denmark is just the place I live. The county where I have healthcare cover and a mobile phone contract. But all my work, all my friends, the vast majority of my purpose in life, are elsewhere.

In essence the guy lambasting me about language was right – to manage to really be at home in Denmark, the language is vital. It’s central. That’s correct, fair and justifiable. But with the language critique comes this kind of edge of incredulity – why would I ever not want to integrate in Copenhagen? The answer is that I have things to give up elsewhere, that taking children to kindergarten in a Christiania bike and drinking Carlsberg are not my sole aims in life, and that thanks to the nature of my job I can actually live in one place and not work there, and hell I am only here for personal reasons anyway. Yes, damn it, for me Denmark is not actually the best place in the world.

When I am in Copenhagen I have this kind of a craving for a conversation over a beer with a good friend (but I have no good friends here), or a chance meeting in the street with someone I know (but I know very few people here). But to get to that stage I have to give up more elsewhere, to travel less and work less, and to commit properly to learning Danish, and those are things I cannot bring myself to do. I cannot sketch out a future here that would be to my liking and hence I need to resort to a more minimal strategy to cope for now, and look forward to trips to Brussels or London for those beers with friends or chance encounters.

In short I think this place will never be home, and I only have myself to blame.

Non-Schengen (or non-Danish law?) compliant border control at Padborg, 16th January 2013, 0651

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 14.42.28Back in spring 2011, when Denmark still had a centre right government supported in parliament by the populist Dansk Folkeparti, the country drew sharp criticism from the European Commission with a plan to reintroduce border controls. The centre right lost the election later in 2011, and the borders plan did not see the light of day.

But that does not mean that checks that are illegal under Schengen do not occur. I was first checked at Padborg on 12th September 2012, and blogged about it. In light of that experience I was better informed when checked on the FR-IT border, transcribed the conversation with the border guard, and made an official complaint to the European Commission about the check (Commission response here). The essence of the Commission reply was that the check was not a border check, but an identity check, and that this was permissible under French law.

So then, to today’s case.

I was in the same night train as in the 12th September case, arriving from Germany at Padborg on Danish territory. Two policemen came through the train, asking for passports from all passengers in the train. Despite it being before 7am, and after a bad night of sleep, I tried to be as coherent as possible when asking the policeman a few questions. Unlike 12th September, this time I had a Danish Sundhedskort.

This is the transcript of the conversation, all conducted originally in English:

Policeman: Hello. Passport.
Jon: Excuse me, we are in Schengen, are we not?
P: Yes
J: Why is there a border control?
P: So it is
J: I’ll give you my Sundhedskort then. That’s the obligation when I am in Denmark. I can show you that and not a passport, can’t I?
P: What? Don’t you have your passport?
J: I have my passport with me, of course. But this is Schengen. So you are not allowed to do a border control.
P: You are very clever. Can I see your passport please?
J: What is your right to demand to see my passport? We are in Schengen.
P: Because it’s a control.
J: What is your right to control me?
J: Would you like an official complaint made to the European Commission?
P: Yeah, you can do that.
J: You need to justify what the control is under Article 21 of the Schengen Borders Code.
P: We are making control about drugs and weapons and I need to see your ID.
J: At least you’re more clever than the French with that answer. Well done.
P: But why are you so…
J: Because Schengen means you are not supposed to control on the border!
P: Not regularly, but some control there is always. I don’t understand you. Everything is OK for you. Why are you so…
J: Because we are supposed to live in a border free Europe. We are not supposed to be controlled at the border.

By this time I handed over my passport, he checked the other passengers, and off he went. He paid no attention whatsoever to any of the bags anyone in the compartment had – including 3 huge suitcases there. Aside from the legal points discussed below, one thing is notable – there was genuine surprise in the officer’s voice that I would insist on this – his words “Everything is OK for you”. No it’s not, and I do not trust your intentions, officer, and there is no reason for you to assume that I do.

Anyway, where does all this leave us, legally?

There are two aspects to this. European law first, then Danish law below.

Is this, as defined by the Schengen Borders Code (Art 21, full text here), a border control? Here the answer is murky, because the behaviour of the officer and his words did not match. He stated the reason was for drugs and weapons control, and stated that the controls is not done ‘regularly’ – his words. I have crossed the border at Padborg and not been checked, so he might be right on that point.

But however two aspects of the policeman’s behaviour – only demanding passports and paying not attention to luggage, and also that the control took place in a stationary train at the border station – would seem that these checks did “have border control as an objective” (Art 21 (a) (i)). So once more I will test this by sending an official complaint to the European Commission.

So anyway, if, as I suspect, the Commission will rule that this was not a border check, but an identity check in the territory of a Member State, where does that leave us?

The important difference between the Danish case and the French case is the national ID obligations. In France (as the Commission’s letter to me explained) the French police has a right to demand ID. The Danish police does not have the same right, or at least it is more complicated.

There is no national ID card system in Denmark. Instead most Danes carry a Sundhedskort (like a UK National Insurance card), and that has the person’s address and CPR number on it (and from a CPR number the state can obtain all kinds of information about a person). Then comes the question whether even that can be demanded, because an identity check at Padborg is legally equivalent to the same being asked in the centre of Copenhagen.

I asked as many Danes as possible on Twitter about this (everyone is thanked below), and there were three schools of thought.

The most minimal interpretation is that not even a Sundhedskort need be shown, or a CPR number stated, but instead when asked a person has to give their name, address and date of birth that the police officer could therefore check. This page (in Danish) explains it, relating to § 750 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Retsplejelovens) – mentioned by a number of the respondents.

Others argued that the normal procedure would be to show a Sundhedskort, and because this showed an address and CPR number, it would be sufficient. But here things start to get messy – I am an EU national living in Denmark, but I am not Danish. This means my Sundhedskort is precisely identical to a Dane’s one, but the Ny i Danmark website states (translated from the Danish in the middle of this page) “An EU / EEA citizen must be able to identify and prove his citizenship if the Danish police authorities ask for it at a personal checks. An EU / EEA national who will travel to Denmark must bring their passport or identity card.” (thanks Jacob C)

The problem is that no Dane can prove they are Danish from a Sundhedskort alone, as it does not state nationality. Neither does a driving license – that shows the issuing country, and place of birth, but that is not citizenship. To know citizenship would require the police officer to check the CPR number. But as the Oulane case in the European Court of Justice shows (thanks Andreas K), Member States are not allowed to impose extra ID burdens on citizens from other EU states. Perhaps Danes just ooze Danishness(?), but in any case I cannot see how, under Danish law, a passport could be demanded from either a Dane or another EU citizen.

A number of other people pointed out that a photo ID would be required. This I do not have for Denmark, as the Sundhedskort does not have a picture on it. I still have a UK driving license with photo – exchanging that for a Danish will cover this situation the next time I am checked.

So then, in conclusion, if this policeman at Padborg was OK under EU law, was he right under Danish law? I rather think he was not…

Further discussion with Twitter user @guan has turned up an additional complication. Article 39 of the udlændingeloven (Aliens Act, literally!), para 4 is translated as follows: “The provisions of paragraphs. 1-3 does not apply to nationals of another Nordic country residing in this country, or who enter from or exit to another Nordic country. Justice may exempt other foreigners for its obligations under paragraph. 1 and 3;” Para 1 states “during his stay in the country and on departure from being in possession of a passport or other document by the Minister of Justice provision can be approved as a travel document.” This would seem to imply that, as a UK citizen, I would have to keep a passport with me all the time, even in Denmark. But because this would treat Swedes differently it’s a discrimination under EU law (see Oulane case above). How could I find a way to test this I wonder?

[Thanks for assistance for the research for this post, in no particular order – @jacobchr @sorenhave @IPA_thanks @AndreasKjeldsen @Emily_Lucky @Leoparddrengen @guan @MaksBitter @KamillaVinther @NatashaLevanti @Nissemus @kimschulz @TobieDK @DijkstraHylke @MrMesserschmidt @anpe @mr_hansson]

Odd and cool videos about Denmark

A few things roughly related to Denmark that I’ve come across recently…

Via @sorenhave – a fun way to advertise a bus company

Reminded by @iaindale – a bus flash mob (I’ve even been on a bus in København with this guy driving)

A very elegant Copenhagen time lapse (via @karmel80)

Danish for fans of The Killing (complete with sweaty hair and a Jylland accent) – not allowed to embed this one, so clicking it will take you to Youtube

And, last but not least, the Danish language classic – karmelåså!

Study of Members of the Folketing on Twitter – Danish politics has a long way to go

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 11.55.08Following my post about European Commissioners on Twitter, and suggestions to get Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt onto the network, I thought I would next do a brief study of how members of the Danish Parliament (Folketing, with MF standing for a member of the Folketing) are doing on Twitter. This post sums up what I found. The study is rather long, so is broken up into sections. Comments are most welcome, in English or Danish (jump to comments section).

1. Finding the MFs
2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
3. Results table
4. Insights – individuals
5. Insights – parties
6. Suggestions for improvement
7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
10. MFs NOT on Twitter


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1. Finding the MFs
I took a three step approach to finding members of the Folketing on Twitter. Starting with list of MFs from the Folketing website on 7.1.12 (including 3 substitute members, making the total 182), I first used Google.dk to search for the name of the MF’s name and ‘Twitter’. If this revealed no name I then searched Twitter using the ‘Suggest People’ function. And as a final check I scanned Danish Twitter users’ lists to ensure no MF was missed. The 85 MFs I found on Twitter are now on this Twitter list of my own. The 97 not on Twitter are listed at the end of this post.


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2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
The threshold to include an account in the study was that the account has written at least 100 tweets. Less than this and it is impossible to gauge how an account will develop. This eliminated a further 38 MFs, all listed below. A further 5 accounts were eliminated because no tweets had been produced in the last 30 days, and 4 more accounts are feeds of news from Facebook only and were also removed. This leaves a total of 38 active MFs on Twitter.


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3. Results table
The table below lists the 38 active MFs on Twitter, organised by number of followers. * denotes a Minister. The three columns at the right end are the interesting ones – the Klout score (out of 100) is an automated measure of online influence, based on interactions between users on Twitter, and these users’ respective influence. Reply of RT (out of 10) is my subjective view on how likely a user is to engage with others by replying or RTing. Pol(itical) insight (out of 10) is my subjective view on what can be learned from the tweets – think @carlbildt as the standard for a score of 10.

Name Username Tweets Follows Following Klout Reply
or RT
Margrethe Vestager* @vestager 2866 94 28603 81 9 6
Ida Auken* @IdaAuken 2073 815 8306 51 7 5
Manu Sareen* @manusareen 1093 165 4254 47 5 5
Morten Østergaard* @oestergaard 881 142 4139 55 7 6
Søren Pind @sorenpind 440 117 3415 48 5 7
Kristian Jensen @Kristian_Jensen 1257 307 2701 51 6 6
Simon Emil Ammitzbøll @SimonEmilAmmitz 201 413 2518 45 3 4
Sofie Carsten Nielsen @sofiecn 2160 447 2090 51 9 5
Ellen Trane Nørby @EllenTraneNorby 397 279 1964 52 7 5
Stine Brix @smbrix 2553 328 1777 57 9 5
Christian Friis Bach* @christianfbach 389 128 1777 50 2 4
Magnus Heunicke @Heunicke 903 428 1706 50 7 5
Pernille Skipper @PSkipperEL 1043 188 1607 55 9 5
Zenia Stampe @zeniastampe 330 24 1260 46 0 3
Michael Aastrup Jensen @michaelaastrup 889 944 1247 49 3 6
Jeppe Mikkelsen @JeppeMikkelsen 2113 469 1145 47 8 5
Benedikte Kiær @benediktekiaer 758 111 1131 46 7 4
Rasmus Prehn @RasmusPrehn 465 247 1113 46 8 4
Sophie Løhde @sophieloehde 311 66 1039 38 3 3
Benny Engelbrecht @BennyEngelbrech 1814 1296 937 41 9 5
Jonas Dahl @jonasdahl 560 144 908 44 2 4
Karsten Lauritzen @StemLAURITZEN 281 84 891 45 3 5
Linda Kristiansen @LKristiansen 1549 1557 822 42 6 4
Camilla Hersom @CamillaHersom 256 93 759 42 1 4
Liv Holm Andersen @LivHA 2021 138 754 46 8 5
Lotte Rod @LotteRod 482 95 751 46 3 3
Martin Geertsen @Martin_Geertsen 225 168 619 40 1 4
Mads Rørvig @MadsRorvig 428 68 570 46 5 3
Simon Kollerup @simonkollerup 379 927 480 43 7 3
Lone Loklindt @LoneLoklindt 432 152 449 43 4 3
Rosa Lund @RosaLundEl 287 98 440 45 5 6
Andreas Steenberg @a_steenberg 108 158 423 41 0 4
Marlene Borst Hansen @marleneBL 172 341 408 59 3 3
Rasmus Horn Langhoff @rasmushorn 388 454 336 45 6 6
Nikolaj Villumsen @nvillumsen 259 131 314 n/a 7 4
Esben Lunde Larsen @lundelarsen 135 36 233 40 0 2
Liselott Blixt @Blixt22 221 80 201 43 3 5
Jane Heitmann @JaneHeitmann 268 1 35 24 0 2


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4. Insights – individuals
Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 12.55.45The undoubted leader of the pack is @Vestager. With more than twice as many followers as the second-ranked politician, and with a friendly, interactive style and plenty of photos, there is a lot other Danish politicians could learn from her.

Next come the communicative ministers@IdaAuken, @ManuSareen and @Oestergaard. Particularly Auken and Østergaard are ready to reply to questions posed on Twitter, but none of the three have really developed their own style. Development Minister Friis Bach @christianfbach remains well behind the others, not really engaging on Twitter yet.

The conversationalists are regular MFs who reach out and discuss politics and plenty of other things besides. Here the leading character is Stine Brix (@smbrix), followed by Sofie Carsten Nielsen (@sofiecn), Pernille Skipper (@PSkipperEL), Benny Engelbrecht (@BennyEngelbrech), Magnus Heunicke (@Heunicke) and Jeppe Mikkelsen (@JeppeMikkelsen). All of these accounts allow a Twitter user to relate to the politician as a person, and replies and RTs are likely from these accounts.

The opposition ranks are led by Ellen Trane Nørby (@EllenTraneNorby) and Søren Pind (@sorenpind), both of whose tweets can have an edge to them, but with rather few tweets so far it is unclear how these accounts will develop. Among the smaller accounts, Rosa Lund (@RosaLundEl) and Rasmus Horn Langhoff (@rasmushorn) have had some reasonable, while Simon Kollerup (@simonkollerup) and Nikolaj Villumsen (@nvillumsen) could develop into conversationalists.


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5. Insights – parties
radikale-venstre-bannerRadikale Venstre, led by Vestager, beats all other parties hands down – almost all the party’s MFs are present on Twitter, and 4 of the other top accounts also come from that party. All other parties are a long way behind. The two large parties – Socialdemokraterne and Venstre – are largely absent from Twitter, with the @larsloekke account being dormant a rather surprising choice by Venstre’s communications team. None of the Socialdemokraterne’s leading figures (including the Prime Minister) are in any way active on Twitter. Meanwhile among the other parties Enhedslisten is a fraction ahead of the rest with Brix and Skipper, SF really has only Auken, and Liberal Alliance, Dansk Folkeparti and Konservative have a sprinkling of MFs.


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6. Suggestions for improvement
No Danish politicians, not even Vestager, get close to the gold standard of European politicians on Twitter set by the likes of @carlbilbt, @alexstubb, @NeelieKroesEU and @jensstoltenberg. Vestager, with 2866 tweets the most active MF at the time of writing, is almost 2000 short of Stubb’s total. Content builds engagement, and engagement builds a following on the network – too few Danish politicians have understood that.

Among the ranks of the normal MFs, too many accounts are poorly designed (poor pictures, no cover or background image), and a number do not even have biographies or web URLs. Not everyone can name all MFs, so the starting point to gain a following is to make a clear statement of who you are and what you do. Further, only 2 MFs follow more than 1000 people, and many follow less than 100. Twitter is a two-way network, it is about learning from and conversing with others, and far too few MFs seem to be in listening mode. This could be a question of technology, and a lack of understanding of Twitter lists.

Critics may say that all of this is inevitable in Denmark, where Twitter remains under developed and the Danish language Twittersphere is small. But conversely how better as an up-and-coming politician to develop a role and a reputation using Twitter? Danish journalists, academics and bloggers are increasingly taking to Twitter – what are aspiring MFs waiting for?


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7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
Mette Reissmann (@mettereissmann) Tweets: 264, Follows: 169, Followers: 451 (Last tweet: 13.6.12)
Lisbeth Bech Poulsen (@LisbethBech) Tweets: 276, Follows: 55, Followers: 457 (Last tweet: 8.11.12)
Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) Tweets: 350, Follows: 1211, Followers: 18718 (Last tweet: 26.9.11)
Uffe Elbæk (@uffeelbaek) Tweets: 352, Follows: 1, Followers: 2336 (Last tweet: 13.9.11)
Lykke Friis (@lykkefriis) Tweets: 569, Follows: 0, Followers: 1428 (Last tweet: 18.8.11)


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8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
Villy Søvndal (@villysoevndal) Tweets: 132, Follows: 0, Followers: 2981
Astrid Krag (@Astridkrag) Tweets: 145, Follows: 1, Followers: 819
Pia Olsen Dyhr (@PiaOlsen) Tweets: 311, Follows: 0, Followers: 972
Mogens Lykketoft (@lykketoft) Tweets: 349, Follows: 0, Followers: 658


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9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
Ane Halsboe-Larsen (@AneHalsboe) Tweets: 0, Follows: 64, Followers: 78
Louise Schack Elholm (@LouiseElholm) Tweets: 0, Follows: 15, Followers: 55
Birgitte Josefsen (@stemjosefsen) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 38
Inger Støjberg (@Stoejberg) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 46
Villum Christensen (@VillumC) Tweets: 1, Follows: 40, Followers: 382
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (@JakobEllemann) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 37
Karina Adsbøl (@Karinameldgaard) Tweets: 3, Follows: 1, Followers: 36
Morten Marinus (@MortenMarinus) Tweets: 3, Follows: 144, Followers: 89
Thomas Danielsen (@ThDanielsen) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 29
Anders Samuelsen (@anderssamuelsen) Tweets: 4, Follows: 25, Followers: 3851
Hans Christian Schmidt (@hanschr_schmidt) Tweets: 6, Follows: 5, Followers: 379
Pernille Vigsø Bagge (@PernilleVB) Tweets: 6, Follows: 0, Followers: 147
Henrik Sass Larsen (@SassLarsen) Tweets: 6, Follows: 33, Followers: 423 <- could be fake (see below)
Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt (@MF_K_Lorentzen) Tweets: 8, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Jacob Bjerregaard (@JaBjerregaard) Tweets: 9, Follows: 226, Followers: 127
Hans Andersen (@HansAndersenV) Tweets: 10, Follows: 26, Followers: 31
Mike Legarth (@mikelegarth) Tweets: 15, Follows: 130, Followers: 315
Pia Adelsteen (@PAdelsteen) Tweets: 18, Follows: 98, Followers: 61
Jacob Jensen (@jacobjensenMF) Tweets: 20, Follows: 2, Followers: 318
Mette Gjerskov (@MetteGjerskov) Tweets: 27, Follows: 3, Followers: 524
Trine Bramsen (@Trinebramsen) Tweets: 27, Follows: 18, Followers: 289
Jan E. Jørgensen (@JanEJoergensen) Tweets: 28, Follows: 34, Followers: 171
Jeppe Kofod (@JeppeKofod) Tweets: 30, Follows: 121, Followers: 987
Karin Gaardsted (@KarinGaardsted) Tweets: 30, Follows: 9, Followers: 57
Jens Joel (@Jens_Joel) Tweets: 32, Follows: 44, Followers: 377
John Dyrby Paulsen (@JohnDyrbyPaulse) Tweets: 34, Follows: 32, Followers: 447
Dennis Flydtkjær (@flydtkjaer) Tweets: 37, Follows: 123, Followers: 177
Nadeem Farooq (@nadeemfa) Tweets: 38, Follows: 97, Followers: 666
Pernille Boye Koch Stedfortræder (@pernillebk) Tweets: 41, Follows: 38, Followers: 91
Thomas Jensen (@MFThomasJensen) Tweets: 43, Follows: 246, Followers: 302
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (@SophieHAndersen) Tweets: 54, Follows: 129, Followers: 992
Kirsten Brosbøl (@Kirstenbrosbol) Tweets: 55, Follows: 17, Followers: 478
Brian Mikkelsen (@BrianListeC) Tweets: 67, Follows: 465, Followers: 1130
Per Clausen (@PerClausen3) Tweets: 68, Follows: 134, Followers: 429
Mette Bock (@mettebock) Tweets: 76, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Torsten Schack Pedersen (@Torstenschack) Tweets: 78, Follows: 17, Followers: 421
Fatma Øktem (@fatmaoektem) Tweets: 79, Follows: 53, Followers: 252
Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (@RosenkrantzT) Tweets: 88, Follows: 137, Followers: 928


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10. MFs NOT on Twitter
Alex Ahrendtsen, Anne Baastrup, Anne-Mette Winther Christiansen, Annette Lind, Annette Vilhelmsen , Anni Matthiesen, Bent Bøgsted, Bertel Haarder, Birthe Rønn Hornbech , Bjarne Corydon, Bjarne Laustsen, Carsten Hansen, Christian Juhl, Christian Langballe, Christine Antorini, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Daniel Toft Jakobsen Stedfortræder, Doris Jakobsen Siumut, Edmund Joensen Sambandsflokkurin, Eigil Andersen, Erling Bonnesen, Eva Kjer Hansen, Eyvind Vesselbo, Finn Sørensen, Flemming Damgaard Larsen, Flemming Møller Mortensen, Frank Aaen, Gitte Lillelund Bech, Hans Christian Thoning, Hans Kristian Skibby, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Henning Hyllested, Henrik Dam Kristensen, Henrik Høegh, Holger K. Nielsen , Jan Johansen, Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl, Jesper Petersen, Joachim B. Olsen, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Jørgen Arbo-Bæhr, Jørn Dohrmann, Julie Skovsby, Karen Ellemann, Karen Hækkerup, Karen J. Klint, Karen Jespersen, Karin Nødgaard, Karsten Nonbo, Kim Andersen, Kim Christiansen, Kristian Pihl Lorentzen, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, Lars Barfoed, Lars Christian Lilleholt, Lars Dohn, Leif Lahn Jensen, Leif Mikkelsen, Lene Espersen, Lennart Damsbo-Andersen, Mai Henriksen, Maja Panduro, Marianne Jelved , Marie Krarup, Martin Henriksen, Merete Riisager, Mette Frederiksen, Mette Hjermind Dencker, Mikkel Dencker, Mogens Jensen, Morten Bødskov, Nick Hækkerup, Nicolai Wammen, Ole Birk Olesen, Ole Hækkerup, Ole Sohn, Orla Hav, Özlem Sara Cekic, Per Stig Møller, Peter Christensen, Peter Juel Jensen , Peter Skaarup, Pia Kjærsgaard, Preben Bang Henriksen, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, René Christensen, Sara Olsvig Inuit Ataqatigiit, Sjúrður Skaale Javnaðarflokkurin, Søren Espersen, Steen Gade, Thyra Frank, Tina Nedergaard, Tom Behnke, Torben Hansen, Troels Lund Poulsen, Troels Ravn, Ulla Tørnæs.

Second Photo: “Margrethe Vestager” by Radikale Venstre on May 12, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

NOTE: a first draft of this post incorrectly stated Stine Brix was a member of SF. She is in Enhedslisten. This has been corrected. Thanks @leoparddrengen for pointing this out! In return he asks me to point out his guide to Twitter in Danish. Fair deal I reckon!

So who attends a Presidency press trip?

One of my questions before arriving in Copenhagen was: who are the others who are attending the Danish Presidency press trip? Now I have the answer – albeit only on paper. This is a picture of the pages from the programme (click to enlarge)

I’m glad to see Bruno Waterfield (@brunobrussels) and Peter Spiegel (@spiegelpeter) among the names, and also that EUObserver is represented. But what about European Voice (covered by The Economist?) and Quatremer / Libération?

UPDATE: I’m informed that Simon Taylor is from EV. Typo in the list above!

Nordic bloc politics – the solution for a fractured left?

A Twitter exchange this afternoon with @olafcramme and @anthonypainter (shown in the screenshot to the right) in light of both Thursday’s election in Denmark and today’s Berlin state election got me thinking: is Nordic bloc politics the solution to the fracturing of the left, the problem so compellingly highlighted by David Miliband?

The contrast between Denmark and Berlin is that in the former the likely coalition configuration was well known before the elections – Social Democrats would definitely work with the Socialist People’s Party (SF) and most likely with the Radicals and, if necessary the far-left Unity List. The media labelled this the Red bloc. The opponents – the Blue bloc – composed the liberals (Venstre) and the Conservatives with parliamentary support of the Danish People’s Party. So fracturing of the left did not matter enormously in Denmark – it was the bloc’s vote that mattered. This development reflects the same tendency in Swedish general elections in 2006 and 2010.

Conversely in Germany – at the 2009 Bundestagswahl (my blog on that here), and at every Landtagswahl subsequently, the problem of how the SPD deals with the Left Party (Die Linke) rumbles on. Equally the SPD also still flirts with the idea of forming a grand coalition with the CDU, while support for The Greens continues to grow. Meanwhile in Berlin, the entry into the state parliament of the Pirate Party with 8.8% of the vote complicates matters still further.

Learning the lessons from Denmark and Sweden, would it not be best for the SPD to ally themselves strongly with The Greens, the Left Party and even The Pirates and present themselves as a Red bloc before 2013’s Bundestagswahl?

UK media seems to have forgotten there’s an election happening in Denmark

An election was called 2 days ago in Denmark (there’s a Wikipedia page about it here), and the vote will take place in 18 days, on 15th September.

Yet even as a politics nerd in the UK, you would be forgiven for not knowing it was even happening. There is not a single piece about the election on BBC News Online, The Telegraph or The Independent. The Guardian fares little better, with two (1, 2) obscure auto-feeds and still no proper article.

Even for the dire standards of the UK’s coverage of our European neighbours, this must surely be a new low?

Compare and contrast this with column inches filled with ‘news’ about the candidate to be selected by a party not in power that might not win an election not due for more than a year in some other place the other side of a large ocean…