Alternative, which has not guaranteed support for either main prime ministerial candidate following next week’s election, announced the policy on Friday as party of three new proposals on the area, Jyllands-Posten reports.
According to the party, citizenship should be qualified for once requirements for permanent residency are also met.
“For us, citizenship is an active part of the integration process. We have, for a long time, believed that it should be easier to become a Danish citizen,” Alternative spokesperson on immigration Caroline Magdalene Maier told Jyllands-Posten.
“Many people say that citizenship is a reward you are given once you have shown you are Danish enough. We are turning this around and saying that citizenship is a vote of confidence we give to the individual.
“We believe it will make people feel more welcome and thereby more willing to be part of society,” Maier continued.
The party’s assertion that it should not be possible for authorities to retract citizenship would also apply to convicted criminals and gang members, the Alternative spokesperson confirmed.
“If you commit crime, you should be punished according to Danish criminal law. We can’t start taking away people’s citizenship,” she said, citing the UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, to which Denmark is a signatory, but confirming the policy would also apply “in principle” to dual citizens.
Alternative also wants all children born in Denmark to parents with permanent residency in the country to be given Danish citizenship, regardless of the parents’ nationality.
“It is very strange not to be a Danish citizen if you were born to parents with permanent residency and are set grow up, go to school and have your whole life in Denmark. Why should you not have the same rights as Danish citizens?,” Maier said.
Currently, Danish citizenship can only be granted to foreign nationals via legal nationalization: new citizens must be approved by a parliamentary majority.
Alternative also wants to change this rule so that a simple declaration by individual applicants is enough to confirm nationalization. That appears to be an ambitious goal, given it would require a change to the constitution and not just a bill passed by a parliamentary majority.
“We are aware that we would meet a constitutional challenge [with this proposal], so some of this is probably a long-term thing,” Maier said.
Minister for Immigration and Integration Inger Støjberg dismissed the Alternative proposals on citizenship.
“Alternative’s proposals would make it easier to get Danish citizenship almost impossible to throw out the people who don’t behave themselves,” Støjberg told Jyllands-Posten, adding that she considered Danish citizenship a privilege.
“As well as the honour of being able to call oneself Danish, an extended degree of protection also comes with (citizenship). So it is very much something to be strived for and earned,” she said.