The minister, reacting to a report by TV2 on record numbers of illegal immigrants in Denmark, told the broadcaster that the public had a duty to help authorities track down undocumented migrants.
“I would actually encourage completely normal Danes to, when they are for example are at their local pizzeria and think that there is something weird going on in the back room because there are many people going around in there not speaking Danish at all, then contact the authorities, because it is utopic to believe that the police can get into every back room in Denmark,” she said.
Støjberg’s remarks came after TV2 reported that 1,348 individuals were charged with being in Denmark without permission last year – the highest total recorded to date.
“This is all about there being clarity over who is living in Denmark… So I actually think that we all have a duty to contact authorities if we see something suspicious,” she said.
Political opponents were quick to react to the minister’s comments, and they were also the subject of satire on social media.
The hashtag #anmeldenpizzabager, which plays on the Danish for “report a pizza baker” and “review a pizza baker” using the same phrase, began trending on Twitter, with users satirising Støjberg by writing spoof reviews of fast food pizza establishments.
MP Zenia Stampe of the opposition Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party wrote on Facebook that “social support has been drastically cut, so refugees must hurry up and find a job before they have learned Danish. But if they actually successfully find a job that does not require Danish skills - such as a pizza maker - they will be subjected to suspicion and being reported.”