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Danish PM Potentially Facing Impeachment Trial Over 'Minkgate'

© AP Photo / Rene Schutze/PolfotoDanish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen - Sputnik International
While Denmark's mink ordeal has already led to the downfall of former Food Minister Mogens Jensen, who resigned in mid-November, it is unlikely to claim the scalp of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, unless her bloc allies choose to abandon her.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is potentially facing an impeachment trial with two lines of attack over her controversial decision in early November to cull the country's entire mink stock of over 15 million animals, which in retrospect turned out to be an illegal order.

This week, a petition by citizens to hold the prime minister accountable in the Supreme Court gathered 50,000 signatures, which is the necessary threshold for it to be heard in parliament. Frederiksen could be tried, should the MPs pass it.

Jesper Thygesen, a mink breeder and one of the activists who helped formulate the initiative, told TV2 it was about sending a signal to the PM that everyone should be held responsible for their actions.

The second line of attack includes parliament setting up a commission of inquiry to determine the prime minister's role in the so-called Minkgate, which could also place Mette Frederiksen before a judge.

However, this will only happen if the Social Democrats centre-left "red" bloc allies abandon her, which appears unlikely.

Still, political analyst Peter Lautrup-Larsen argued that the proposal implies "Minkgate" is not going to die down anytime soon.

"There are a large number of citizens who feel that Mette Frederiksen has acted almost dictatorially during the COVID crisis, and that it was especially obvious in connection with the demand that all mink should be killed", he argued.

On 4 November, Mette Frederiksen informed her nation that all farmed mink would be culled due to fears of a mutated variant of the coronavirus that could potentially jump species and interfere with the vaccination process.

Mette Frederiksen - Sputnik International
Danish PM Ridiculed Over Tearful Apology for Mink Drama
It was subsequently found that no legal basis for the order existed, making the move appear to be unconstitutional. A parliamentary majority, however, blue-stamped it retroactively, and the cull went on until all of the country's 15 million farmed mink were killed, thereby eradicating an entire industry in a world-leading fur-breeder nation.

This week, the Danish parliament reached a historic agreement to compensate mink breeders for lost business to the maximum tune of DKK 18.8 billion ($3 billion).

Minkgate has already led to the downfall of former Food Minister Mogens Jensen, who resigned in mid-November.

So far, Denmark has been alone in ordering a blanket cull. Other breeder nations confined themselves to sanitary culls, without destroying their countries' entire stocks. Neighbouring Sweden recently mimicked the ban on mink breeding in 2021, yet stopped short of the Danish strategy of destroying existing stocks. Only accidentally born mink pups will be put down.

Denmark is edging closer to 200,000 COVID-19 cases and has surpassed 2,000 deaths. The spread of a more contagious mutated British variant prompted the government to extend restrictions to the end of February.

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