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LIVING IN DENMARK

Danish politicians could reject more citizenship applications under new proposal

Two parties on Denmark’s far right want to change the procedure by which the country rubber-stamps citizenship applications so that some applications are easier to reject. The governing Social Democrats could be open to the idea.

Danish politicians could reject more citizenship applications under new proposal
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

A proposal by the far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right, NB) party would change the way the Danish parliament processes citizenship applications so that individuals can be more easily rejected, according to a report by newspaper Politiken.

The plan has received the backing of the Danish People’s Party (DF) , the other anti-immigration party on Denmark’s far right. Significantly, it also has signs of support from the governing Social Democrats, the newspaper writes.

Under Danish law, citizenship can only be granted to foreign nationals via legal nationalisation: applications must actually be voted for by a parliamentary majority.

Accepted applications are normally processed via bills put in front of parliament twice yearly, in April and in October.

NB wants to change this practice so that, instead of approving a single bill with hundreds of (pre-approved) citizenship applications, parliament can more easily reject individual claims by splitting them into different bills.

The party wants to discriminate claims based on the nationality of the applicant, according to Politiken’s report.

“We favour, for example, that persons from so-called ‘Menapt’ countries [Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, ed.] be put on a separate bill so they can be voted against,” NB citizenship spokesperson Mette Thiesen told the newspaper.

“We want to be able to vote for the people who really deserve a citizenship, but not those who we absolutely don’t think should have it,” Thiesen added.

People who apply for Danish citizenship must fulfil a series of criteria and pass a citizenship test, and their claims are assessed by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration prior to being sent for the parliamentary bill. As such, the applications that come before parliament have already fulfilled the legal criteria.

Negotiations over potential changes to citizenship rules are ongoing between Danish parties. Earlier this week, the centre-right Liberal party said it wanted assessment of applicants to include a personal interview to determine whether that person has “Danish values”.

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Thiesen told Politiken that “of course” politicians could sort citizenship applicants based on source country if they so wish.

“We’re the ones giving out citizenship. It’s not a right to get Danish citizenship,” she said.

It should be noted that, even if applications were voted for in different bills, it would still require a parliamentary majority to reject them.

The Danish People’s Party said it backed the idea. The party has previously voted against bills formalising citizenship applications.

“We would actually like to vote yes to many Nordic citizens and people from South Schleswig [German border region, ed.], but because we oppose so many from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries getting citizenship, we vote no to the bills as they are. And thereby end up voting no to some people who we really want to have citizenship, and that situation is a shame,” DF citizenship spokesperson Marie Krarup told Politiken.

The spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, appeared open to the suggestion in a comment given to the newspaper.

“The premise itself, that there are special problems with people from those Menapt countries, we recognise that,” Rasmussen said.

Member comments

  1. Really scary approach!

    Proposal now is not even to test Danish values, not sort of Canadian grading system where education, experience or recognition are basis for citizenship? Not even combination, where Danish values can grant you even 90% of points and academic degree, experience and job other 10 points and lets say Menapt citizenship deduction of some points, while still leaving chance for people who want to apply.

    I do understand that they want white people in, yet key risk there is that someone should keenly control those politicians (i.e. supreme court) so Denmark does not end up forcing former Menap and now Danish citizens to wear yellow crescent, than live in certain city blocks with final step of arranging “naturalization” or “value appreciation” camps for people… Remember, German Nazi ideology also started from huge support of local population and seemingly good proposals for German people.

    Why don’t journalists ask those questions of their politicians? Or is it populistic opinion?

    1. Geoff, with all due respect I can understand the reason. I can not understand response. It is adequate if a third grader or uneducated person comes up with such response measures, but not a mature educated European politician.

      As one smart man said “If you dare to criticize, propose a solution”. So here is solution instead.

      1) Both Before granting citizenship or even access to country. PET cooperation with CIA, FSB and others. And its not expensive, can come up with the cost equal to 3-4 politicians fired. This way you will have at least 90% security on background of person you accept (both past and future of him/her, relatives, religiousness extent etc.)
      2) Change legislation, on extending PET rights to surveillance of religious communities. I.e. field undercover presence in mosques and other religious services to track any extremist motives before they even become a problem.
      3) Increase responsibility margins for both participants of religious groups with heavy fines for non reporting (if found/proved guilty) to their families. This falls under judicial concept of criminal inaction (omission).
      4) Cultural exchange events for all cultures facilitated by local communes working for everyone, every religion and nation – this facilitates opening/broadening view of those asylum seekers and others from EMENA region.
      5) track social development trends over 4-8 years of those seeking citizenship, i.e. if they lived a decent life, paid taxes, received education, helped community etc.

      If they break or about to break law (as in case above), strip off the citizenship and send back home for sure!

      Yet again, if we are to go nationalistic way straight forward it is not good neither in short not in long run.

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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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