Danish MPs baffled by flagpole count order

A Danish flag on a pole in central Copenhagen Image copyright iStock
Image caption The reason for the flagpole census is still a mystery

Politicians in Demark say they're baffled by a finance ministry order for all state institutions to count how many flagpoles they have on their premises.

An instruction was sent out earlier this month telling officials to complete a spreadsheet with the results of their count, but no clear reason was given for the flag census, the TV2 website reports. Now MP Pernille Skipper, of the leftist Red-Green Alliance, has submitted an official request for information to the Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, asking him to explain what it's all about. The minister is required to answer within three weeks.

"It's a rather silly question, but above all it seems silly to start counting flagpoles," Ms Skipper tells TV2. "There are many staff doing the counting, filling in Excel sheets and submitting them. It is taking up some time." On Twitter, one of her parliamentary colleagues wished her luck with the request using the hashtag #flagstangsgate - flagpolegate.

One Danish newspaper tried to solve the mystery last week by calling - with a touch of good humour - a host of politicians to see if they knew what was going on. While some offered theories, most said they had no idea.

Shortly after the order was given, Liberal Alliance MP Henrik Dahl described it as "the most moronic thing I've heard in years". He told the Danish Broadcasting Corporation: "The year is still young, but when we get to 31 December it will still be a candidate for the most stupid piece of bureaucracy."

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