00:38 GMT02 December 2020
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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)

    Recently, the debate about the integration of newcomers has caught fire in Denmark. Even the Queen of Denmark, who usually refrains from commenting political issues, joined the debate. Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg went so far as to say that integration has failed for decades, suggesting that Denmark is and will remain "the Danes' country."

    Integration efforts have failed for 30 years, as Danish authorities have proven unsuccessful to make foreigners a genuine part of Danish society, Inger Støjberg wrote in an opinion piece in the tabloid newspaper BT, warning of both high economic costs and a looming value-based crisis.

    "When integration has failed, first and foremost it becomes clear that we either did not have the will or the ability to stand up for our values and our claim that all newcomers to Denmark have an obligation to support themselves and take our values to heart. That every one of us has to 'move a little' is a misconception. No, Denmark is the Danes' country, and here we do live by our values," Inger Støjberg wrote.

    According to Støjberg, tougher requirements are needed, as it is clear that it is not the Danes themselves who must change.

    "I expect that when one comes to Denmark, one becomes a breadwinner for his or her family. I also expect that one accepts the very foundations of the freedoms that generations before us have established for themselves. It means that you live in a country built on freedom, democracy and equality. On top of this foundation one can build his or her own life, but one cannot make a dent in the foundation," Støjberg wrote.

    Policemen stand in front of a house in Ishoj, Denmark
    © AFP 2020 / Asger Ladefoged / Scanpix Denmark
    According to Støjberg, former Danish authorities did not have the courage to implement proper legislation in order to make the newcomers work, rather than becoming dependent on the government. To set things straight, Støjberg implemented a halving of cash assistance for the newcomers and introduced a cash ceiling for money collected from the welfare system.

    Støjberg admitted that these measures were highly unpopular, yet "totally imperative" to conveying the idea that it pays to work in Denmark. Additionally, the restrictions are meant to facilitate the way to the labor market for Muslim women, who are being held at home by their spouses.

    "Only by making very firm demands we can get integration back on track in Denmark," Støjberg concluded.

    ​Earlier this month, Inger Støjberg stated that Danish politicians were unable to confront the problem of blighted urban neighborhoods and decided to keep the controversial "ghetto list" of the most marginalized neighborhoods in Denmark. According to a study by the Kraks Institute for Urban Economic Research, the proportion and the distribution of residents who are unemployed, uneducated and criminalized have hardly changed since 1985, BT reported. At present, there are 31 identified vulnerable neighborhoods in Denmark.

    "It is because we have not dared to make demands. We do now," Støjberg said, as quoted by BT.

    The Danish government plans to produce a so-called "ghetto package" in early 2017, which will become the sixth of its kind since 1994.Today, the percentage of Danish citizens with foreign backgrounds exceeds 9 percent in a nation of 5.6 million. Previously, a study by Denmark's Integration Ministry revealed that only a fifth of immigrants actually feel like they're Danish.

    "The Danish national sentiment is characterized by three crucial things: a common language, culture and history. If you come to Denmark, I expect that you make yourself familiar with our country's history and get to know the values our country is based upon," Støjberg told the Danish newspaper Berlingske.

    Danish Culture Minister Bertel Haarder previously identified the five roots of being Danish as equality, freedom of speech, higher education, a working nation and, last but not least, a keen cycling culture.

    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (162)


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