Denmark eyes potential ‘screening’ of citizens

Two right-wing parties want everyone applying for Danish citizenship to face questioning about their viewpoints, including in some cases from the politicians themselves.

Denmark eyes potential ‘screening’ of citizens
The plan is being championed by MP Naser Khader (left), seen here with fellow Conservative Brian Mikkelsen. Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix
Not content with new tougher citizenship requirements that took effect in October, the Conservatives and the Danish People’s Party want would-be Danes to undergo an in-person screening process. 
Conservative MP Naser Khader told Politiken on Friday that he will introduce a bill that, if passed, would force the Danish government to come up with a model to screen all individuals who apply for Danish citizenship. 
He said the move would replace the current requirement that all would-be Danes sign a statement declaring their loyalty to upholding Denmark’s societal values and abiding by its constitution. 
Khader said a personal interview would help stop people who “don’t care for this society’s fundamental values” from becoming Danes. 
“I want to be able to sit down and ask some of those who want to have citizenship: Why do you want citizenship? What is your opinion of our democracy, traditions of freedom, gender equality, homosexuality and so on,” Khader told Politiken. 
The Conservative MP has floated the idea before and was a driving force behind an October 2015 decision to deny citizenship to a man he called a “pure Islamist” and “anti-democrat”
“Citizenship is politics, not law. Therefore we can of course allow ourselves to say to these types of people: your opinions are too extreme for us to reward you for them. And we do that to take care of Denmark,” Khader wrote in a Facebook post praising the decision to deny citizenship to Belal El-Khatib.
Khader said his plans to formally propose a screening process are driven by the desire to deny citizenship to people who “oppose and undermine democracy”. 
Although he said he did not have a concrete model for the screening process just yet, he envisioned a scenario in which the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) would flag potential citizens who may harbour extremist beliefs. 
In some cases, Khader said those people should be brought in for questioning directly by parliament’s Naturalization Committee (Indfødsretsudvalg).
“You get a much more reliable picture of the applicant by seeing the person live,” he told Politiken. 
A spokesman for the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, the largest government support party, called the idea “excellent” while a spokeswoman for the opposition Social Democrats, which have supported a number of other recent immigration restrictions, said her party would view the proposal “with an open mind”.
Jan Jørgensen of the ruling Venstre party told Politiken that he could understand the motivation behind the proposal but had doubts on its effectiveness. 
“I have a hard time seeing how the model being proposed would solve the problem [of giving citizenship to people who openly oppose the Danish society, ed.],” he told Politiken. 
For members


QUIZ: Can you pass the 2022 Danish citizenship test?

If you want to become a Danish citizen, you'll have to prove your knowledge of the country's culture, history, politics and more by passing a citizenship test. Can you pass our quiz version?

QUIZ: Can you pass the 2022 Danish citizenship test?

A condition of getting Danish citizenship is to demonstrate knowledge of Danish society, culture and history by passing a citizenship test (indfødsretsprøve).

In April 2021, the previous version of the citizenship test, which consisted of 40 multiple choice questions, was supplemented with five extra questions about “Danish values” such as equality, freedom of speech and the relation between legislation and religion. 

The pass mark is 36/45 and at least four of the five Danish values questions must be answered correctly. 

Children under 12, Swedish and Norwegian citizens, and people from the Danish minority in German region Schleswig-Holstein do not need to take the citizenship test.

READ ALSO: How do Denmark’s citizenship rules compare to Sweden and Norway?

While there are 45 questions (and they’re in Danish) in the real test, we’ve compiled 15 for you to have a go at answering. They are all based on the actual test from November 2022.

The pass mark on the real test is 36/45, with at least 4 of the 5 “values” questions (the last 5 questions in the test) correctly answered. In our version, the last 3 questions are taken from the Danish values section of the real test.

The 45 questions in the real citizenship test cover a broader range of topics and styles than those covered here, so please don’t take our quiz as any certain measure of your ability to pass the real thing.