Danish left hails Syriza ‘Red Spring’

Denmark’s far-left Red-Green Alliance has congratulated Greece for voting in the populist leftwing Syriza party, calling the party’s victory “an important day for Greece and also for the rest of Europe.”

Danish left hails Syriza 'Red Spring'
Jubilation in Greece following Syriza's victory captured by the Red-Green Alliance's Pernille Skipper. Photo: Pernille Skipper
Pernille Skipper, a policy spokesman for the party, who was in Athens to support Syriza ahead of Sunday’s election, called on Denmark’s government to work with the new Greek government to help it renegotiate its crippling debt. 
“The Greek people have clearly rejected the EU's neoliberal economic experiments,” she said in a statement “The Greeks have said no, that ordinary people should not have to foot the bill for the financial crisis. It should inspire people in other European countries.” 
Syriza won Greece's general election on Sunday with 36.4 percent of the vote, after its leader Alexis Tsipras vowed to end cuts in public spending and bring an end to what he called "five years of humiliation and pain".
With 36.4 percent of the vote, Syriza aims to govern in coalition with a smaller right-wing party.
Denmark’s two leading parties on Monday dismissed proposals to renegotiate Greece’s debt. 
Morten Bødskov, the EU spokesman for the ruling Social Democrats, said that Tsipras’s proposals were not realistic. 
“It’s an illusion to think that you can just sweep away all the debt, and it’s an illusion to believe that anyone’s gong to accept that there need be no reforms to the Greek system,” he said. “But of course, you won’t hear Tsipras saying that.” 
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the EU spokesman for the centre-right Venstre Party said that it would be “completely unreasonable and crazy” for Greece’s new government to believe that Germany and other European countries would agree to write off Greece’s debt. 
Syriza’s victory was welcomed across the European left, with Jonas Sjöstedt, the leader of Sweden’s Left Party telling The Local he was “delighted” with the result, which he hoped marked the start of a ’Red Spring' across Europe. 
Katja Kipping, the leader of Germany’s Left party, told the country's Bild newspaper that her party was  “hoping for a red spring in Europe”.
Populist left-wing parties are growing in force across Europe, with a new Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos drawing strong support. 
Denmark’s Red Green Alliance, led by the charismatic Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, had the support of some 8.5 percent of voters in a January 20th poll by Norstat, up from 6.2 percent of the vote in Denmark’s 2011 election. 


Denmark to cut wait for family reunion after losing European court case

Denmark is to reduce the amount of time refugees need to wait before apply for family reunification after The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the current "three-year rule" was excessive.

Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'.
Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

In a press release issued on Friday, the country’s immigration ministry said that it would next year submit a bill amending the country’s immigration law, or udlændingeloven to reduce the length of time refugees need to wait before applying for family reunion from three years to two.

But the new law will also contain a clause allowing Denmark to bring back the “three-year rule” at short notice if there is a refugee crisis.

“I of course regret that the verdict went against Denmark,” Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s immigration minister, said in statement, adding that he was nonetheless “relieved” that the court had deemed a two-year wait acceptable, and had also left open the possibility of longer waits during periods of extremely high refugee numbers.

“We are working hard to keep our refugee numbers at a record low, but if we today have a situation similar to 2015, we want to be able to lift the limit from two to three years. That is a good tool to have in our toolbox.”

The so-called MA case was brought by the Syrian doctor Mosalam Albaroudi, who arrived in Denmark in 2015 and then five months later applied for family reunification with his wife and was rejected.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on July 9th that the reason for the rejection of his reunification visa was a violation of human rights.

The case concerns a controversial change to Denmark’s laws in 2016, when Denmark’s Parliament (Folketing) passed the so-called “three-year rule” that required refugees to wait three years before applying for family reunification.

That’s why Albaroudi’s application was denied a residence permit for his wife. The decision was upheld by Denmark’s Supreme Court in 2017.

Albaroudi and his lawyer, Christian Dahlager, believed the decision violated the European Convention on Human Rights, and so they continued their efforts to overturn the ruling.

The Convention states that everyone has the right to privacy and family life, and that an authority can restrict this right only if it is necessary in a democratic society to protect a number of essential interests of society. It applies to members of the Council of Europe, to which Denmark belongs.

In its decision, the European Court of Human Rights stated that Denmark’s three-year waiting period has not “struck a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, the applicant’s interest in being reunited with his wife in Denmark and, on the other hand, society’s interest as a whole in being able to control immigration in order to protect the country’s economic well being, to ensure effective integration and to maintain the cohesion of society.”

Sixteen judges voted in favor of Albaroudi, and one judge abstained. The court also awarded Albaroudi compensation of 75,000 kroner.