Danish history professor Uffe Østergaard has proposed building a wall around Europe to stop immigration. Integration, he argued, has been a failure.
“After World War II, there was a strong belief that the Nordic welfare state model was so robust and attractive that it could integrate all 'strangers'”, Uffe Østergaard argued in an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Politiken. By his own admission, he too used to share this opinion, but later thought better of it and drifted away from multiculturalism.
According to him, the time has come for the EU to build a border wall with “wire fences in four lanes, floodlights and watchtowers” as a necessary means of protecting Europe's frontiers. Otherwise, Østergaard believes, there will be an imminent split between Eastern, Western and Southern Europe over contradictory views on the management of immigration, particularly the welfare variety.
“Protecting borders is necessary, otherwise the population will rebel against the government”, he wrote.
Professor Østergaard argued that the time is ripe for politicians to admit that integration has failed.
“Ghettos are a good example of parallel societies that arise. The integration has not failed for everyone, but for relatively many people”, Østergaard wrote in Politiken.
Uffe Østergaard also wants to see the assimilation of immigrants instead of integration, and he believes that all residents should accept the “Lutheran virtues” prevalent in Danish society.
74-year-old Uffe Østergaard is a Danish historian specialising in European identity history. He is a Jean Monnet professor of European civilisation and integration at Aarhus University and professor of European and Danish history at Copenhagen Business School. In the 2000s, he served a the head of the department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Danish Institute for International Studies.
Østergaard's primary interest is European identity from the 16th century onwards. His interest is particularly related to multicultural and multiethnic states such as Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire and their successor states. Østergaard's extensive authorship includes: “The Faces of Europe” (1992) and “Europe: Identity and Identity Politics” (1998).
The pattern of increased immigration to Europe from other continents began in the mid-20th century and culminated in the 2015 migrant crisis. Between 2008 and 2017, the 28 EU countries received over 5 million asylum requests, mostly from Muslim majority countries from the Middle East and Africa.
While Denmark has pursued a stricter immigration policy compared with the fellow Scandinavian nation of Sweden, close to 800,000 of Denmark's population of 5.8 million (over 13 percent) are immigrants and their descendants. Of them, 500,000 are non-Western immigrants, according to Statistics Denmark.