Citizenship: Foreigners in Denmark could face interviews to test ‘Danish values’

Citizenship: Foreigners in Denmark could face interviews to test 'Danish values'
People attend a citizenship ceremony at Copenhagen City Hall in February 2020. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix
Foreign nationals applying to become Danish citizens could face interviews designed to test whether they have 'Danish values', as part of a new proposal by the main opposition party that has some backing from the government.

The centre-right Liberal party, the largest currently in opposition, wants to introduce the measures and will push for them in negotiations over new citizenship rules, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

Specifically, the party wants to add five questions to the existing citizenship test on so-called ‘Danish values’. These could include questions relating to disagreements between Danish law and religious ideology or whether women should be freely allowed to choose romantic partners, according to the report.

Additionally, the Liberal party is calling for would-be nationals to write a cover letter with their citizenship application, explaining why they want to become Danish.

Further, a personal interview would seek to determine whether that person has “Danish values”.

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“Good behaviour alone is not enough. If you want to be a Danish citizen, you must have taken Denmark in,” the Liberal party spokesperson for citizenship, Morten Dahlin, told Jyllands-Posten.

The existing citizenship application process includes criteria on employment, Danish language proficiency and a clean criminal record. It also requires applicants to declare that they respect Danish values and democracy using the personal digital signature, NemID.

READ ALSO: Applying for Danish citizenship: The process explained

“But that is not pressure-tested in the application process, and I think that is wrong,” Dahlin said.

The new measures would ensure newly-nationalised Danes have “loyalty to democracy and Denmark,” according to the Liberal party.

In a second article on the new proposal, Dahlin tells the newspaper that it is not correct to assume that integration of foreign residents “goes both ways”.

“Integration is not about building bridges. Integration is about the people who come to Denmark going over the bridge that is already here,” he said.

“And if you don’t want to go over that bridge – which consists of things like the Constitution taking precedence over the Quran, and women being able to choose their own partners – then Denmark isn’t the place to make your home country,” he continued.

Dahlin’s opposite number with the governing Social Democrats, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, said he agreed with the aims of the Liberal plan but wants to know how the proposed rules will ensure applicants are telling the truth, Jyllands-Posten writes.

The centre-left Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party has said it opposes the plan.

“It would be nothing but a waste of everyone’s time to summon (citizenship applicants) to a physical democracy interview,” the party’s citizenship spokesperson Andreas Steensberg told Jyllands-Posten.

According to Steenberg, people who are so far removed from Danish democratic values would not find themselves on a position to apply for citizenship because “they would have committed a crime or done something else that disqualifies them”.

Peder Hvelplund of the left-wing party Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) criticised the plan as “far-reaching” and “a form of thought control that people should act in a certain way or have a certain view of things”.

The proposed screening interview received the backing of the populist Danish People’s Party (DF), whose spokesperson Marie Krarup said there was “a risk of thought control, but that’s also what we want”. The right-wing party’s previously stated aim is to greatly reduce the number of citizenships granted by Denmark.

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  1. It takes more than a full 8 years to apply for citizenship. If during this time a person was not charged with legal violations (incl. human rights or religious extremism) why exactly is it needed to include those questions?
    second point is Denmark is highly open multicultural democracy, who exactly decides which 3 questions are most important to be fit for Danish Way? What if person shares views opposite to Liberal party but in full compliance with other parties messages?

    I do understand the need for conformity, but in all true it should not be addressed via questions, we pay huge taxes, how about PET entitled and experienced in security and intelligence does its job on checking potential candidates for absence of ties to ISIS for example or due diligence of social media posts about women rights etc?

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