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The Kingdom of Denmark was first organized a unified state in the 10Th. century anno Domini, but it did not become a constitutional monarchy (as it is in the present) until the year 1849. The original constitution was adopted on the 5th of June, 1849. Today, June 5 is Constitution Day, a national holiday in Denmark. It was only on the 5th of June in 1953 did a major overhaul in the constitution allow for a unicameral legislature and a female chief of state (or female Prime Minister).
The legal system in Denmark is the civil law system and there is a judicial review of legislative acts. Denmark accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction whilst having reservations.
There are three branches to the Danish government which are: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch.
The executive branch is composed of: 1) The chief of state (Queen Margrethe II, ruling monarch), the heir apparent to the throne is the eldest son of the queen, Crown Prince Frederick. 2) The head of government, who is currently Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. 3) The cabinet that is named the Council of State and appointed by the monarch (the queen). The monarch, of course, is completely hereditary and so no voting takes place for the chief of state but legislative elections do take place and the leader of the ruling coalition/party is then appointed as PM by the monarch. The PM serves for four years.
The legislative branch consists of 179 seats in the unicameral Folketinget or People's assembly. All members are elected by popular vote and all parties are proportionally represented. They all serve for four consecutive years. The dominant party is the Liberal Party, headed by PM Rasmussen, with 29 percent of vote. Then comes the Social Democrats, Danish People's Party, Conservative Party, Social Liberal Party, Social Liberal party, Socialist People's party, Unity List and 2 seats from Greenland and 2 from the Faroe Islands.
The Judicial branch consists solely of the Supreme courts. The judges are appointed by the monarch to serve for life.
There are seven Danish political parties. These are: the Christian democrats, Conservative party, Danish People's Party, Liberal Party, Red-Green Unity List, Social Democratic Party, Social Liberal Party and the Socialist People's Party (listed in alphabetical order).
Denmark (capital: Copenhagen) is located in the Northern part of Europe; it borders on the North and Baltic Sea. It shares a borders with Germany and includes two major islands (Fyn and Sjaelland). It geographic coordinates are approximately 56 00 North and 10 00 East.
Its total area is 43,094 square kilometers with the land area being 42,394 square kilometers, leaving 700 square kilometers for water. Denmark is a peninsula and has total land boundaries of 68 kilometers with Germany as its only border country.
With a 7314 kilometer coastline and a 12nm territorial sea, Denmark's natural conditions make for a great fishing industry as it has over 38 types if commercially important fish.
Denmark's' terrain is low and flat with very gently rolling plains with the lowest point being Lammefjord (-7m) and the highest point Yding Skovhoej (at 173m). The only reported natural hazard is flooding to some parts of the country.. The climate is temperate, humid and overcast with mild, windy winters and cool summers.
The current environmental issues that the country faces are: air pollution, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the North Sea and the pollution of drinking and surface water from animal wastes and pesticides. Denmark controls both Danish straits inking the Baltic and North seas and around one-quarter of the population lives in Copenhagen.
Denmark's main natural resources are petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, chalk, stone, gravel and sand. 52.59 percent of the land in Denmark is arable, which makes agriculture a significant part of its income. Agricultural products include barley, wheat, potatoes, sugar, beets, pork, fish and most importantly, dairy products.
Denmark's population is 5,5450,661 as of July 2006. 66.1 percent of the population is composed of people aged 15-64 years. The population growth rate is 0.33 percent, as of 2006. This is due to the birth rate being 11.13 births for every 1000 people and 10.36 deaths for every 1000 people (as of 2006). The average life expectancy at birth is 77.79 years.
The ethnic groups are: Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian and Somali. The religions are Evangelical Lutheran (95%), Protestant and Roman Catholic (3%), Muslim (2%), Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mormons, Jews, Apostolics, Methodists and reformed churches.
The languages spoken are (in order of predominance) Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect) and German, with English as the second language.
The literacy to illiteracy ratio is 99:1 for males and females both.
Denmark has a well-rounded military, the branches or Defense Command are Army Operational Command, Admiral: Danish Fleet, tactical Air Command and Home Guard. It is compulsory for males to enter the military at age 18 for four to twelve months, depending on the specialization and it is voluntary for all females. The annual military expenditures are $3271.6 million, which makes up approximately 1.5% of its GDP.
Denmark is an exporter of energy and food and enjoys a balance of payments surplus. The government objectives include streamlining the bureaucracy and further privatization of assets. This is because the Venstre Liberal Party (dominant) believes that private businesses are the future and promise more advancement and modernization due to their higher capability of finding more promising new niches in the international market. Denmark decided not to join the 12 European countries in the Euro. Because of high GDP per capita, welfare benefits and a low Gini index and political stability, Danish people enjoy high living standards topped by no other nation in the world.
The GDP purchasing power parity is $181.6 billion according to a 2005 estimate and the GDP official exchange rate is $249.1 billion also according to a 2005 estimate. The GDP real growth rate is steady at a 2.8% while the GDP per capita is $33,400.
Denmark has a labor force of 2.9 million people with 3% in agriculture, 21% in industry and 76% in services with only a 5.5% unemployment rate based on a 2005 estimate.
Denmark's budget revenues are $144 billion and budget expenditures are $135 billion including capital expenditures. The public debt is at an average 35.7% of GDP according to a 2005 estimate.
Its agriculture products are barley, wheat potatoes, sugar beets, pork (livestock), dairy products and fish. The industries are iron, steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, food processing, machinery, transportation equipment, textiles, clothing, electronics, construction, furniture, wood products, shipbuilding, refurbishment, windmills, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. The industrial production growth rate is at 4%.
The electricity production was 43.32 billion kWh in year 2003 and it depends largely on fossil fuels (82.7%). The exports are $84.95 billion f.o.b. and the imports are $74.69 billion f.o.b. the external debt amounts to $352.9 billion as of June 30, 2005. The current currency is the Danish krone (DKK). The Danish fiscal year is the calendar year.
The following is an excerpt from the ruling Liberal Party's domestic policy: "Economic policies should build on four corner stones; low inflation rate; low interest rates; fixed currency rate and sound and stable public finance. The national budget should be balanced; public debts bring about problems of tax distribution and carry forward tax burdens into the next generation. Venstre works for a gradual lowering of the tax burden. This can be achieved by lowering public expenditure and increasing growth in the private sector. Venstre will consequently use growth in the private sector to lower taxes rather than increasing public expenditure."
Views on World Problems:
Denmark has long been a fairly neutral country, as the rest of its Scandinavian neighbors. It is forward thinking and works constantly towards modernization and prosperity in all fields. Denmark has always supported an increase in trade and open minuends towards all issues and cultures. Denmark has large communities of expatriates and foreign workers, which further progresses the ideal of cultural harmony, democracy, development and security in a multi-racial/cultural community.
Denmark has many allies, most of which are in the European union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) no enemies but it has recently been attacked by the international Islamic communities over controversy surrounding cartoons deemed offensive by the Muslim world.
Denmark has always been reluctant to act on a violent military basis but with increasing pressure by NATO and the EU to participate in Iraq and Sudan, for example, the Danish military has been sent out on peace missions.
Denmark wishes to promote its fair, democratic vision on the international community and continues to do so today in the countries that its military serves.
Centuries ago, Denmark was one of Europe's most powerful nations. Ruled by the strong and influential Vikings, it prospered, invaded and explored countless countries including England. Today Denmark is known a modern, peaceful country and the image of the fearsome Viking has been replaced by the friendly people and smiling soldier holding a child in Kosovo.
During WWII, Denmark was "peacefully occupied" by Germany and to avoid violence and problems, the Social Democrat PM at the time collaborated with the Germans to sustain peace in the country. Denmark was the German-occupied country in which the least violence occurred and the least Jews died. After the Danes strengthened their regulations for the collaboration and an underground anti-German movement formed, the collaboration formally collapsed and the Jews escaped to the neutral Sweden where they could guarantee their safety.
Excerpt from http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~yliu/Tour/aero/history.html: "1939AD: Denmark opted for neutrality in WWII. Signed nonaggression pact with Germany. Still occupied by Germany later. 1972AD: Queen Margrethe became queen. 1989AD: Denmark became the first country to allow women to join front-line military units and the first country to recognize marriages between partners of the same sex. 1996AD: Copenhagen was designated the "Cultural Capital of Europe", after Athens, Florence, Paris and Madrid. 2000AD: Danes vote against the Euro. 10-mile Oresund Bridge links the island of Zealand with Sweden. (largest combined rail/road tunnel in the world) "
1. The question of detention without trial
Detention without trial is to detain and/or imprison/persecute potential terrorists or terror suspects (specifically speaking about the "war on terror") without substantial evidence and allowing them the right to an attorney and a proper criminal trial.
The UN has criticized the detention of terror suspects without trial and especially the overwhelming numbers existing in the Iraqi prisons and Guantanamo Bay which the UN urged the US to shut down indefinitely in the year of 2004. In 1988, the general Assembly set the "Principle ll of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment" which stated that,
"1. A person shall not be kept in detention without being given an effective opportunity to be heard promptly by a judicial or other authority. A detained person shall have the right to defend himself or to be assisted by counsel as prescribed by law."
Denmark disapproves strongly of detention without trial, especially after the detention of a Danish citizen in the infamous Guantanamo Bay since 2002. Venstre political party leader and Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted saying, "I don't think the indefinite detention of people without clarifying their situation is acceptable. We have stressed to the American Government that this is untenable" after a Danish Cabinet meeting.
Denmark proposes that the UN reexamines its policies on such actions and imposes harsher penalties, or any at all, on the nations/ countries that carry them forth.
2. The question of improving the living conditions of Africa
The majority of people in Africa live in unacceptable conditions. It is a continent stricken by terrible famine, disease, extreme poverty, human trafficking, tight economy and dilapidated living conditions for its people.
Although the UN is not without ambitious goals to improve living conditions and reduce poverty in Africa, they are not enough. Today, there are more people than ever in Africa below the poverty line. There have been many conferences called and many commissions aimed towards solving the problems in Africa, but larger scale action must take place before the international community can see significant improvements and the UN meets its goals.
Denmark, as a fair and neutral country always seeks to improve the living conditions, of not only its citizens and inhabitants but of others, and most importantly, those who are suffering. Denmark aims at spreading its good will and efforts to all countries and the UN in benefit of the global community not differentiating between genders, ages, races or any other.
Denmark has long been a supporter of action with results and urges the UN to take further their effort in improving the living conditions of the people in the poverty-stricken continent of Africa. Denmark sees that intense action taken towards specific factors in sub-standard living conditions will drastically improve the situation due to the smooth operation of each of the parts that make up good living conditions. Denmark also encourages community support, education and financial growth in communities by traditional or modern means that contribute excellently to the long-term improvement, not only in living conditions but also in all aspects of the community.
3. The control and guidance of the media
The media is a tool for releasing news to the world but it can also stir controversy and cause uproars in certain communities and areas of the world when a certain topic, opinion or idea is taken too far. The control and guidance of the media varies in countries throughout the world. In some countries, certain media groups are backed and influenced by corporations, in others, the governments are secular and religious topics and offensive cartoons are not banned, in others, the media is restricted from releasing any content deemed unacceptable such as women revealing their hair and anything insulting to their royal family. However in general, control is having at least partial control in the content that is released so as not to cause any action the government deems unacceptable. Guidance of the media is influence and directing it to take a certain path.
The UN has done little to control and guide the media as it varies in countries all over the world. Yet the controversy caused and the riots and protests carried out as a result of the caricatures of Islam's Prophet Mohammed have sparked discussion in the United Nations on the limits of freedom of speech and media control.
Denmark as a free and liberal country does not have many restrictions when it comes to the media because its population is multi-cultural and very accepting of a wide range of views and opinions and if it were to take the restrictions of every religion and tradition of its people the country would no longer be following the plan of Venstre's very liberal and open policy. With a totally secular government, the Danish government could not formally apologize on behalf of the newspaper that sparked the caricature controversy whilst condemning the actions of the newspaper and deeming them inappropriate considering the large population of Muslims native to Denmark. Denmark is currently reviewing its policy on media control and guidance.
Denmark urges the UN to consider calling a conference to place a relatively loose yet well thought-out control standard for media internationally to which every media outlet and source must conform.
4. Towards eliminating arms proliferation
Arms proliferation is the rapid multiplication of arms worldwide and as any arms, especially those in the hands of rebel and terrorist groups pose a threat on the world at large, this topic has long been on the UN agenda.
Many conferences have been called by the UN to discuss disarmament and the elimination of arms proliferation and many resolutions have been passed in the GA to form and forming branches and organizations to aid in the elimination of arms proliferation as ninety percent of the killings in today's wars take place as a result of the proliferation of light weapons and other small arms.
Denmark is a great promoter of peace and the rapid proliferation of arms hinders the path to peace a great deal and Denmark fully supports all action taken against the spreading of arms, especially in third-world countries where this problem is most prominent.
Denmark urges the UN to consider taking measures and imposing stricter rules and production regulations on the manufacturers of small arms and to also consider placing tracking devices in/on each and every weapon and having monitors specifically employed for these tasks. Denmark also urges the UN to keep watch over Africa and third world country most afflicted by this crisis.
5. The integration of women in development
The prejudice and setbacks the female race has suffered throughout history and consistent oppression by men has slowed down or hindered their path to be a large part of the world's activity, economy and most importantly, development. In many countries, women are not partakers in vital development projects and plans while they have much to offer and many views to give whilst not being given the chance to express them.
The UN works toward the integration of women in development because, as 51% of the world's population, they have much to offer and could have a very large role in development in countless countries that are not currently benefiting from their capabilities and skills. The integration of women in development is one of the main issues on the UN agenda.
Denmark is one of the strongest supporters of the integration of women in development because, throughout its history, women have served the country a great deal and in modern day, share a balance and harmonious equilibrium with the male workforce. This is one of the greatest factors in the success of Denmark as a peaceful country, as with the rest of the Netherlands. Denmark believes that to achieve harmony in the country and consistent and positive development, both genders, and all ethnicities and citizens must be involved to bring different views, new ideas and most of all avoid all conflict and protest that would be an obstruction in the way of development.
Denmark urges the UN to call a conference and set an international standard over the next ten to fifteen years for the percentage of educated women that must be integrated in development, which a country cannot go below. Denmark also urges the UN to closely examine how lack of and or proper education and average socio-economic standard of a country/region factor into this and target the specific problems that arise from these areas.