Up to Brits to come up with Brexit solution: Rasmussen

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has said his government is preparing for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union without an agreement.

Up to Brits to come up with Brexit solution: Rasmussen
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Such an outcome, commonly known as a no-deal Brexit, remains a realistic possibility following the rejection of British PM Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement by the UK parliament on Tuesday.

No-deal could have a significant impact in Denmark, including on the country’s food export industry.

It is now up to the UK to find a way of reaching an agreement that would avoid a no-deal situation, Rasmussen said.

“The British have said ‘no’ to the agreement they themselves negotiated and which their own prime minister thought was good enough,” the Danish PM said on Tuesday evening.

“It is therefore the British who must, in the first instance, figure out what the next step will be. And we will of course listen and approach that constructively,” he said.

May’s agreement was rejected by 432 votes to 202 in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the largest parliamentary defeat ever suffered by a British government.

“There has been a very clear rejection of the agreement. So it’s going to be a huge task in the United Kingdom to resolve what to do next,” the Danish PM said.

May faces on Wednesday night a no-confidence motion tabled by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately after Tuesday’s vote, but is expected to survive and continue as the head of government in the UK for the time being.

The UK remains scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th, without an agreement if none is reached in the intervening ten weeks.

One consequence of no-deal would be customs control between the UK and the 27 EU countries.

“That would make things very difficult for the Danish companies that export to and import from the UK. We are preparing for that. That’s why we are equipping ourselves in customs and tax (administration),” Rasmussen said.

“That is why the Minister of Immigration [Inger Støjberg, ed.] is in a dialogue with parliamentary parties about a special Danish law that would ensure Brits in Denmark fair conditions, if it ends that way [with no-deal, ed.],” he added.

Rasmussen has previously said in social media posts that his government would ensure British citizens living and working in Denmark can remain in the country in the event of no-deal, but no legislative measures have been announced.

On its website, the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration currently states that Denmark will consider the rights of British citizens in Denmark in the event of a no deal-Brexit once the outcome of negotiations between the UK and the EU is known.

READ ALSO: 'Of course you can stay' in event of no-deal Brexit: Danish PM to British citizens

For members


EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

Moving to another country is never easy, as it requires going through cultural changes and administrative formalities. It can be even more complicated when looking for a job.

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

According to new data released by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the knowledge of the national language and the recognition of professional qualifications are the two most common obstacles experienced by foreign-born people in finding a ‘suitable’ job in countries of the European Union.

Overall, about a quarter of people born outside the EU who had experience in working or looking for work in the bloc reported some difficulties getting a ‘suitable’ job for level of education (without considering the field of expertise or previous experience).

The Eurostat analysis shows that the situation is better for EU citizens moving within the bloc. But there are major differences depending on countries and gender.

Life can be more difficult for women

In 2021, 13.2 percent of men and 20.3 percent of women born in another European Union country reported obstacles in getting a suitable job in the EU place of residence.

These proportions however increase to 20.9 percent for men and 27.3 percent for women born in a non-EU country with a high level of development (based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index) and 31.1 percent for men and 35.7 percent for women from non-EU countries with a low or medium level of development.

Finland (42.9 percent), Sweden (41.7 percent), Luxembourg (34.6 percent) and France (32.1 percent) are the countries with the highest shares of people born outside the EU reporting problems. Norway, which is not part of the bloc, has an even higher percentage, 45.2, and Switzerland 34.3 percent.

In contrast, Cyprus (11.2 percent), Malta (10.9 percent), Slovenia (10.2 percent), Latvia (10 percent) and Lithuania (6.7 percent) have the lowest proportion of people born outside the EU reporting difficulties.

Lack of language skills

The lack of skills in the national language is most commonly cited as a hurdle, and it is even more problematic for women.

This issue was reported by 4.2 percent of men born in another EU country, 5.3 percent of those born in a developed country outside the EU and 9.7 percent of those from a non-EU country with a middle or low level of development. The corresponding shares for women, however, were 5.6, 6.7 and 10.5 percent respectively.

The countries where language skills were more likely to be reported by non-EU citizens as an obstacle in getting a relevant job were Finland (22.8 percent), Luxembourg (14.7 percent) and Sweden (13.1 percent).

As regards other countries covered by The Local, the percentage of non-EU citizens citing the language as a problem was 12.4 percent in Austria, 10.2 percent in Denmark, 7.8 percent in France, 5.1 percent in Italy, 2.7 percent in Spain, 11.1 percent on Norway and 10.1 percent in Switzerland. Data is not available for Germany.

Portugal (77.4 percent), Croatia (68.8 percent), Hungary (58.8 percent) and Spain (58.4 percent) have the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving, while more than 70 percent of non-EU citizens residing in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway said they had participated in language courses after arrival.

Lisbon Portugal

Portugal has the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving. (Photo by Aayush Gupta on Unsplash)

Recognition of qualifications

Another hurdle on the way to a relevant job in EU countries is the lack of recognition of a formal qualification obtained abroad. This issue was reported by 2 percent of men and 3.8 percent of women born in another EU country. It was also mentioned by 3.3 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women born in a developed country outside the EU, and 4.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Eurostat says this reflects an “unofficial distrust” among employers of qualification obtained abroad and the “low official validation of foreign education”.

The lack of availability of a suitable job was another factor mentioned in the survey. In Croatia, Portugal and Hungary, this was the main obstacle to getting an adequate position.

This issue concerned 3.3 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women born in another EU country, 4.2 percent of men and 5 percent of women born in a developed non-EU country It also worried 3.9 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Restricted right to work due to citizenship or residence permits, as well as plain discrimination on the grounds of origin were also cited as problems.

Discrimination was mostly reported by people born in a less developed non-EU country (3.1 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women) compared to people born in highly developed non-EU countries (1.9 percent for men and 2.2 percent for women).

Citizenship and residence permits issues are unusual for people from within the EU. For people from outside the EU, this is the only area where women seem to have fewer problems than men: 1.6 percent of women from developed non-EU countries reported this issue, against 2.1 percent of men, with the share increasing to 2.8 and 3.3 percent respectively for women and men from less developed non-EU states.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.