Danish public sector employees to work from home due to increase in Covid-19 cases

Municipalities in both Copenhagen and Odense will ask staff to work from home in an effort reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Danish public sector employees to work from home due to increase in Covid-19 cases
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Municipality has asked heads of department to send administrative staff to work from home, the city said.

The decision comes after health authorities and Minister of Health Magnus Heunicke on Monday asked businesses in 18 municipalities in the greater Copenhagen area, as well in Odense, to consider working from home.

The two areas are currently seeing an increase in Covid-19 infections and local restrictions are set to take effect there from Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new restrictions in Copenhagen and Odense as coronavirus cases increase

Another municipality in the greater Copenhagen area, Ballerup, has said that around half of its staff would be working from home for the next two weeks.

Staff from non-public facing sections of Ballerup’s municipal administration are like to be asked to work remotely.

Odense Municipality responded to the government request Monday by saying it would send employees home.

The municipality’s city director Stefan Birkebjerg Andersen said that around 2,000 municipal employees would be affected.

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Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.