Xenophobia: What's gone wrong in Denmark?

11 November 2010
Frankfurter Rundschau Frankfurt

They think it's us. Children in Mjølnerparken, Copenhagen
They think it's us. Children in Mjølnerparken, Copenhagen

The Danish parliament has recently toughened up laws regarding family reunification for immigrants. German daily Frankfurter Rundschau fears that this marks yet another step towards in an openly aggressive anti-immigrant policy, one which could spread throughout Europe.

Once upon a time there was a small country in northern Europe that was proud of – and esteemed for – its liberal, humanitarian attitudes, which served as a model for others. That country was Denmark. Now the Danish are making headlines with their xenophobic policies and Europe’s harshest immigration regulations, which are a mockery of liberal broadmindedness. They are setting an example again, only the ones applauding them nowadays are from the other end of the political spectrum. “The decisions we are making now will soon serve as a yardstick for other countries too,” boast Danish rightwingers, and past experience shows that may well be true.

Calls to check the influx of “non-Western” foreigners are spreading like wildfire across Europe. And Denmark is spearheading the crusade. The government had already outdone all the others by requiring that spouses from outside the EU be at least 24 years old before even applying for family reunification in Denmark. In future, they will also have to have a certain number of “points” to qualify for admission.

Translated from the German by Eric Rosencrantz

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