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What do future citizens of Denmark think ‘Danish values’ are?

What is actually meant by 'Danish values'? We asked our readers in Denmark for their thoughts.

What do future citizens of Denmark think 'Danish values' are?
A Danish citizenship declaration. 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 other parties.

The centre-right Liberal party, the largest currently in opposition, wants to introduce the measures, and other parties have expressed support for the idea, including the governing Social Democrats.

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

Specifically, the Liberal party wants to add five questions to the existing citizenship test on ‘Danish values’ and is also 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’. But these are not clearly defined.

We asked our readers to share their thoughts on whether they thought the plan was a fair one, and what they understand ‘Danish values’ to mean.

Just under two-thirds of the 55 people who contacted us said that applicants for citizenship should not be required to explicitly demonstrate an adherence to Danish values.

Forms response chart. Question title: Should applicants for citizenship have to demonstrate their acceptance of 'Danish values'?. Number of responses: 55 responses.

Half of those who answered our survey intend to apply for nationality in the country, while just under 20 percent are in the process of applying or have already been granted citizenship.

Forms response chart. Question title: Are you becoming a Danish citizen?. Number of responses: 55 responses.Interestingly, the readers who said they agreed with the concept of testing for Danish values had a range of reasons for doing so.

Amongst those who said Danish values should be demonstrated by applicants for citizenship was Nathan Tucker-Bloch, who said he plans to apply in the future.

“It is perfectly reasonable to expect those of us seeking to make Denmark our home to adhere to the principles and societal norms of the land. Danish citizenship directly implies a commitment to Danish values that is not expected of others to the same extent,” he wrote.

For Tucker-Bloch, Danish values are “the right to practice the religion of your choosing (or no religion) without pressure or undue influence.”

But no religious law should supersede Danish law, he added, echoing the comments of Liberal spokesperson for citizenship, Morten Dahlin.

“Men & women have equal rights in every sense. The rights of children are sacrosanct and protected by law,” Tucker-Bloch also wrote.

Eliza Szabó also plans to apply for Danish citizenship. She answered ‘yes’ to our initial question.

“Accepting equality should not be a problem if you apply to be a Danish citizen and Denmark should’t let opportunities open to reduce equality,” she wrote.

“At the same a state shouldn’t dictate any personal views if it doesn’t affect any communal laws. Tolerance works both ways,” she added.

Equality for women and tolerance are typical values in Denmark, she said.

Another of our readers offered a possible definition on what the national values might be.

“To my best of knowledge, the Danish constitution is what Danish values (entail), if not then what is?”, wrote Nana Sarfo, who is in the process of applying for citizenship.

Sarfo agrees that potential nationals should prove they possess those values.

Another reader who plans to seek nationalisation, Mehran, answered ‘no’ to the question of whether would-be Danes should have to prove their national mindset.

“‘Danish values’ is such a subjective term. There is not a consensus even among Danes,” he wrote.

“Besides, societies are dynamic, not a static form that nothing (can) ever change. Values change as the society changes and that happens all the time, hence introducing or abolishing laws based on different circumstances. Citizens should abide to laws not subjective values!”, he added.

Mehran told us he saw community spirit and transparency as the two most important, typical national values.

Anuprita Dagade has no plans to apply for citizenship and does not think applicants should have to prove their Danish values.

“It is not possible to judge if the person actually agrees with those values or just giving answers in an interview to get through,” she wrote.

“On other hand, for people who already accept and live with this value, it would add unnecessary pressure to prove it and also elongate the process with some inconvenience of facing interviews,” she pointed out.

Gender neutrality and trust are two typical Danish values for Dagade.

According to John Newport, who wants to apply in future, applicants for citizenship should not have to demonstrate Danish values.

“A country’s values aren’t set in stone… Who decides what they are? Also, they can include negative things. Denmark’s values, expressed by its politicians, seem to increasingly include xenophobia. Do foreigners wanting to become citizens have to share that too?,” he wrote.

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Member comments

  1. There seems to be a problem within Denmark when it come’s to the message they are expressing. On one hand it’s came we want you to join us. But on the other it is very xenophobic. Yes would be citizen need too prove themselves but there is a thing as a bridge to far. A lot of things are amazing and world class here but there is a lot of racism and discrimination on all fronts of Danish society that no one wants to speak about. It really becomes a question of is the price of admission worth it.

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DANISH CITIZENSHIP

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

One of the requirements for fulfilling criteria for Danish citizenship through naturalisation is a clean criminal record. Does this mean fines for traffic offences could disqualify you?

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

Denmark is known for its strict rules on citizenship and a range of criteria must be met before you can become a Danish national.

The requirements fall into several broad categories, one of which being that you must have no criminal convictions.

The other categories relate to employment status, length of residency in Denmark, debt and personal finances and knowledge of language and culture. You can read about them in detail in our guide to applying for Danish citizenship.

In April 2021, the government agreed new citizenship rules, adding new curbs on who can be granted Danish nationality and building on the earlier 2018 citizenship rules.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new tightening of citizenship rules

Under the April 2021 rules, persons with previous convictions for which they have received conditional or unconditional prison sentences are permanently barred from being granted Danish citizenship.

Additionally, people who have received fines of at least 3,000 kroner for breaking certain laws are required to wait for a suspension period of four years and six months before being acceptable for naturalisation.

On its website, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration states that a condition of a citizenship application making it to parliament – where it is given final approval – is that “you have not committed certain types of acts for which you can be penalised, or that any suspension period related a punishable act has expired”.

This means that if you are fined for breaking certain laws, you can be suspended from applying for citizenship for a given period.

Fines under 3,000 kroner do not generally result in a suspension.

If you have received a fine for “violating the traffic laws, this can… impact your possibility of becoming a Danish citizen. At least for a while,” the ministry states.

For example, a fine of 3,000 kroner or more results in a suspension period of four and a half years from the date the offence is registered. As such, you could not become a Danish citizen until four and a half years after this date, regardless of whether you meet the other criteria.

This includes fines given for all forms of traffic offences, including speeding tickets, the ministry notes.

It should be noted that police speeding fines are often less than 3,000 kroner, depending on the offence.

For example, driving at 59 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone (the speed limit in most urban areas), usually gives a fine of 1,200 kroner. The same fine would be given for driving at 130 km/h on a section of motorway where the speed limit is 110 km/h.

If you drive at 110 km/h where the limit is 80 km/h, you can be fined 2,400 kroner.

Fines go up in certain circumstances: driving over 140 km/h adds an extra 1,200 kroner to the fine, followed by another 600 kroner for each additional 10 km/h.

Additionally, breaking the speed limit by 30 percent or more often results in an additional 1,200 kroner being added to the initial fine.

Speeding in areas where the normal speed limit has been reduced due to roadworks results in the fine being doubled.

Reports in Danish media have described cases of individuals who have lived in Denmark since childhood having their citizenship applications turned down because of speeding fines.

Repeat offences (or other offences for which fines are issued) can result in the suspension period being extended by 3 years for each offence. Only penalties which would have resulted in suspension in isolation – in other words, fines of over 3,000 kroner – can extend the suspension.

There are conditions under which you can apply for dispensation: if your traffic fine is not for driving under the influence of alcohol and is between 3,000 and 3,500 kroner; or if you have been concurrently fined up to 5,000 kroner for several offences which do not give fines over 3,500 kroner in isolation.

However, dispensation would require a member of parliament’s citizenship committee to argue your case for dispensation within the committee, the ministry states. In other words, you’d need an MP to agree to speak on your behalf.

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