Citizenship: Danish party calls for ban on naturalisation for people with foreign partners

Citizenship: Danish party calls for ban on naturalisation for people with foreign partners
A Danish citizenship ceremony in Copenhagen in early 2020. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix
The right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) says it wants the religion of newly naturalised Danes to go on public record under new citizenship rules, and to ban granting citizenship to people married to foreign nationals. The government is reported to be prepared to consider the proposals.

As negotiations over revised citizenship rules continue, DF has called for the religion of people who are granted citizenship to be stated on public record

The chief aim of the proposal is to clarify whether new citizens are Muslims, according to Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper which first reported the proposal.

According to the report, DF wants the religion of all applicants to be stated on the publicly accessible parliamentary bills which are used to grant citizenship. Under current rules, names are listed but not religion.

The right-wing party wants the lists to state whether a person is, for example, Christian, Muslim or atheist. Refusal by a prospective citizen to disclose their religion would result in the application being rejected.

“Being Muslim raises for many people some fundamental problems with living a Danish life. Whether that is views on women or views on law and democracy,” DF’s deputy leader Morten Messerschmidt told Jyllands-Posten.

“That’s why we want to know what sort of background these people [new citizens, ed.] are coming here with,” Messerschmidt added.

The DF deputy leader also said he does not want Denmark to completely ban granting citizenship to Muslims.

Denmark’s 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

The DF lawmaker also said that he wanted Denmark to block citizenship for people who are already married to foreign nationals, citing a negative impact on integration “if you marry your cousin from the same village your parents came from”.

Cases for couples from, for example, Germany or Italy, should be “looked at on an ongoing basis,” he said.

“We do not wish to target Gertrude und Hans from Germany or Svenne and Lotta from Sweden,” he said, but also suggested he would be more keen to prevent citizenship from being given to a Swede with Somalian heritage.

The minority Social Democrat government could be prepared to accept the proposal of listing the religion of new citizens, according to Jyllands-Posten. The party’s citizenship spokesperson, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, said the government wants “as much transparency as possible”.

“If (DF) wants it, and it’s possible to do it, let’s talk about it,” he added, and also confirmed the Social Democrats are willing to discuss the proposal relating to foreign spouses although the latter proposal might bring practical obstacles.

Senior researcher Eva Ersbøll at the Danish Institute for Human Rights said the proposal to block the citizenship of people based on the nationality of their partners would be in breach of article 6, paragraph 3 of the European Convention on Nationality.

“You can apply conditions but the convention states the persons with legal and permanent residence in a state must have the possibility of gaining citizenship. And if you make this demand it would rule out so many people that it would in my assessment no longer be a general possibility,” Ersbøll told Jyllands-Posten.

Negotiations over citizenship rules are ongoing on Friday and began earlier this month.

None of the minority government’s regular allies on the left wing remain involved in the negotiations after the Socialist People’s party confirmed they had left the table on Friday.

As such, the governing Social Democrats are negotiating with centre right and far right parties over new citizenship rules.

Earlier in February, the centre-right Liberal party proposed interviews to test whether citizenship-hopefuls subscribe to ‘Danish values’ as part of the application process. 

A proposal by the far-right Nye Borgerlige party would meanwhile change the way the Danish parliament processes citizenship applications so that individuals can be more easily rejected. That plan has also received DF’s backing.

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Member comments

  1. next step is to buy some brown shirts, identify books which do not fit “danish values” and do a small “torchlight party” and burn those books in the end…. come on guys… i can understand frustration with free riders who do not fit in, but do a grade based system like job, education level and country where it was received and stuff like that… this way is not correct at all!

    1. I’m not a big fan of these proposals either but I do see some correlation here between the travel restrictions imposed as a result of Covid and immigration changes targetting Muslims, where viloent extremism is seen as the ‘virus’. in both cases only a small percentage of those entering Denmark may be carriers but both have the potential to cause lasting damage to society. Of course, Michael Barrett and his ilk will froth at the mouth and yell all sorts of stuff about racial / religious profiling but the Danish government, police and security services are probably a safer bet when it comes to evaluating the risks.

      1. exactly the point and they get paid for this. Yet again, keep in mind that NSDAP was a small political party in Germany aimed at needs of illiterate parts of population until it went out of hands completely.

        once again, i would 100% support selective approach to citizenship – i.e. If you are muslim but have good education, open mind to new cultures and appreciation of life on top of making good salary and 0 criminal record that should be sufficient. But segregation based on color of skin or religion is not “Danish Way” and i truly hope so.

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