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Pull down ghettos and relocate residents: Danish PM in New Year speech

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Pull down ghettos and relocate residents: Danish PM in New Year speech
Photo: Finn Frandsen/Polfoto/Ritzau
12:23 CET+01:00
Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in his New Year's Day speech that ‘social control' in marginalised neighbourhoods must not overshadow Danish laws and norms.

Rasmussen has previously expressed his desire to tackle social problems in Denmark's so-called ‘ghetto' neighbourhoods.

He underlined the issue in the traditional prime minister's January 1st speech.

In the speech, Rasmussen said that he was prepared to make special laws relating to ghettos as a means to achieve his aims for those areas.

“We need a more precise effort, whereby we do not inconvenience Danes all over Denmark. Action must be taken where the problems are greatest, and there only,” the PM said.

“We must introduce a new target to end ghettos completely. In some places, by breaking up concrete and pulling down buildings. Spreading the residents and housing them in different areas,” he continued.

READ ALSO: Denmark removes neighbourhoods from 'ghetto' list of deprived areas

The speech is not the first time the prime minister has expressed his position on new laws aimed specifically at marginalised areas, and the government is reported to be working on a proposal on how to take action over the issue.

But Rasmussen's goal, which would see areas no longer considered to be ghettos at all, is new.

The PM said that his government would present a proposal detailing the specifics of the initiative early this year.

He said his aim was to “fill the holes in the map of Denmark and recreate mixed neighbourhoods, where people from different backgrounds can meet.”

“We must break the chain in which generation after generation lives in a parallel society. A child has only one childhood. It must not be wasted,” he said.

“There are children and young people being sent for re-education if they become too Danish. Parents are punishing children. It should be the other way around. We must step in as a society. Support children and punish parents,” Løkke said in reference to reports of children being sent on forced trips to their heritage countries.

The prime minister also maintained Denmark should remain an open country for those that want to contribute to it, mentioning foreign professionals, talented individuals from abroad and people who move to Denmark to be with Danish partners.

“You are welcome. You are doing a good job. Keep it up,” he said.

“But I know many of you share my concerns about those who do not wish or are unable to do the same. Who abuse our hospitality, challenge our way of life and put tolerance at risk,” he added.

READ ALSO: Denmark's foreign academics face prosecution over visa technicalities

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