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Danish report Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2008-03-19 10:20:19
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Defense Minister stepping in

The OceanEye radar system, the Fennec and EH 101 helicopters. The Danish Army Command, Control and Information System. The spy plane Tårnfalken and the Challenger jet. They sound like impressive pieces of equipment, but in reality they are all busts that the Danish Defense department has purchased within the past few years. Søren Gade, the defense minister, has in response to the faulty purchases set up an inventory committee to control the many billion-krone contracts. The committee will meet every quarter to report on the department's transactions, according to public broadcaster DR.

OceanEye, which cost the defense department 65 million kroner, was to be used to monitor the seas to control pollution but the system hasn't worked properly. DACCIS was purchased from Swedish manufacturer Saab for 143 million kroner but has failed to perform its supposed function. Last month, the Air Force's 14 new EH-101 helicopters were banned from flying, while the Fennec models have been sent out on Iraq missions but lack weaponry. Several MPs have criticized the defense department for its careless acquisitions.

The department's press officer, Anders Paaskesen, said that the Defense has more than 700 procurement projects in progress at the moment, but does all it can to ensure its money is well-spent. 'Not all projects succeed the way we would like them to,' he said. 'When we discover that a project isn't going according to plan, we either step in and fix it or stop it.' The defense department is currently in negotiations for the purchase of new fighter jets to replace their F-16s. Many politicians believe the department is leaning towards the American Joint Force Striker, which has upped its price more than 200 billion kroner over the past couple years.

And the big question, in the end, isn’t all that too much for defense? Defense from whom?


Something burning

A case of arson occurs four times every day in Denmark, according to figures from the National Police. From the fourth quarter of 2006 to that of 2007, arson cases rose 13 percent, from 1207 fires to 1370. Considering that the most recent spate of fires set in connection with riots in February were not included in the figures, this year could be an even worse one for police and firefighters.

It's amazing the number of arsons, both a pity and good, at the same time, especially when compared with the rest of the European countries.


The National Danish Bank in recession

The head of the National Bank believes the global recession has finally hit Denmark and he expects a cool period for the overheated economy. The global financial crisis sparked by the ever-weakening US dollar has slithered into the Danish economy and will continue to cool it down, according to Niels Bernstein, chairman of the National Bank's Board of Governors.

At a press conference on Thursday, Bernstein said that the cooling off was actually a positive sign, as a gradual recession might keep the long-running overheated economy from a serious collapse.
Bernstein and the bank forecast a drop in gross national product (GNP) from 1.8 percent to 0.4 percent by 2010. Bernstein said the bank's predictions take into consideration any negative surprises on the global market in the coming year.

'If we consider the uncertainty factor in our prognosis, then we're saying it's more likely that the global economy will improve and less likely that it will get worse,' Bernstein told Børsen financial daily.
Although he toned down his previous harsh criticisms of the government's financial policies, Bernstein said there was still good chance unemployment would double over the next two years. He also warned that the National Bank was continuing to keep a watchful eye on governmental policies, which he said have been driven primarily by economics. 'If we look at the different governments over the past 25 years, they have traditionally implemented financial policies based and adjusted upon the existing states of the market,' he said. 'But since 2000, the current government has driven economically-based policies that have magnified the progress of the economic boom.'

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