The Danish Social Democrat government has now set new goal posts for its immigration policy. Ideally, Denmark's new “zero vision” implies a full stop to asylum immigration.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her ambition is for Denmark not to offer asylum to any refugees at all.
“That is our goal. We cannot make a promise of zero asylum seekers, but we can have it as a vision. We want a new asylum system, and we will do what we can to implement it,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, as quoted by Ekstra Bladet.
The prime minister also criticised her predecessors for not making sufficiently strict demands on immigrants, such as maintenance requirements and the duty to adapt to Danish values.
Now the number of immigrants must go down, otherwise Denmark may “lose its social cohesion”, Frederiksen said, arguing that it is already “under threat”.
In 2019, upon winning the general election, Frederiksen’s government said it would resume accepting refugees under the UN's quota system after a three-year hiatus under the previous administration. However, the Social Democrats have generally pursued a tight immigration policy.
Last year, only 1,547 asylum seekers were registered in Denmark, the lowest number since 1998. For the sake of comparison, this is less than one-tenth of the 21,316 asylum seekers registered in Denmark at the height of the migrant crisis of 2015. A combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and Denmark’s rigorous rules and policies are considered to be factors in the low figure for 2020, the Immigration Ministry said earlier this week.
To crown Denmark's new vision, Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye singled out immigration from Muslim countries in particular as a major problem, announcing new measures to stop political Islam. Among other things, the government will settle with the country's Muslim independent schools.
In an interview with newspaper Jyllands-Posten, he said that a “large part of Islam today is represented by extremists”.
“Denmark should not adapt to Islam. Islam must adapt to Denmark,” Tesfaye said. According to Tesfaye, Danish society tends to underestimate the role of Islam because the Danes themselves are rather secular.
Without immigration from Muslim countries, he wouldn't have had the job as integration minister because Denmark wouldn't have any integration problems, Tesfaye argued. He also said that integration works poorly due to people who systematically oppose it by promoting completely different values.
At over 800,000, immigrants and their descendants account for some 14 percent of the Danish population of 5.8 million. The most represented countries of origin within the Danish immigrant population are Turkey, Poland, Syria, Germany, Romania and Iraq.
At about 315,000, Muslims constitute some 5.4 percent of the Danish population, their numbers and percentage increasing steadily over the past decades. In 1980, only 30,000 Muslims lived in Denmark.