Danish People’s Party joins right-wing nationalist alliance in EU parliament

The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti, DF), a populist anti-immigration party which is the third largest in the country’s national parliament, on Monday announced it would work with right-wing groups from three other parties in the European parliament.

Danish People’s Party joins right-wing nationalist alliance in EU parliament
Olli Kotro (True Finns), Jörg Meuthen (AfD), Matteo Salvini (League) and Anders Vistisen (DF) announce the collaboration in the EU parliament. Photo: REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Ritzau Scanpix

Together with Italian party League, which is led by the country’s powerful interior minister Matteo Salvini; the German Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and Finnish party the True Finns, DF will form a new partnership of parties with common nationalist projects in the EU parliament.

The plan was presented on Monday at a press conference at which all four parties were represented.

DF’s EU parliamentary group leader Anders Vistisen told Ritzau that no decision had yet been taken as to whether the alliance would become a formal group in the parliament or function supplementary to existing groups.

A party group requires 25 MEPs from seven different member states.

According to EU parliament rules, a parliamentary group can hire its own staffers and and be granted financial support for “political and informational activities” provided its work is related to the EU, Ritzau writes.

The four parties in the newly-announced group all seek to stop illegal immigration, ‘protect national culture’, and resist further integration of EU states, according to the Danish news wire.

Currently, both DF and the True Finns are members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, along with parties including Poland’s Law and Justice Party, the Sweden Democrats, and the British Conservative Party.

The Sweden Democrats have said they will not leave the ECR, according to Swedish news agency TT.

Salvini’s League is in another group, the Europe of Nations and Freedom, along with France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) and the Freedom Party of Austria, amongst others.

The AfD, meanwhile, is in a third group, which includes Italy’s other populist government partner, the Five Star Movement, as well as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“We believe there is more to unite these groups than to separate them,” Vistisen said.

“If a large group of these parties can come together after the (European) elections, we would form one of the largest groups in parliament,” he added.

Marlene Wind, a political analyst and professor at the University of Copenhagen, said the alliance had potential to significantly influence the EU.

Previously, division between various European far-right parties has prevented them from exerting their will on the parliament, Wind told Ritzau.

“But if they can find common ground and create a large right-wing nationalist group, that could be significant for work in the EU parliament and its ability to pass legislation at all,” the professor said.

“That’s because they will be against a lot of things. They will want to take European partnership to a completely different place. Many who are currently in power will be worried about this new alliance,” she added.

But although there are many Eurosceptic parties present in the EU parliament, finding a platform on which they can agree to work together would not be easy, according to the analyst.

“This is a very mixed group of parties that you would be trying to unite. There is a lot of disagreement within the many EU-sceptical groups,” she said.

“Some want asylum seekers to be redistributed. Others don’t want to touch that issue. Some like (Russian president Vladimir) Putin. Others can’t stand Russia,” she added.

READ ALSO: Danish left-wing party changes stance on EU membership referendum

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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.