New Danish government could relax family reunification rules

Denmark’s incoming government could break with years of strict immigration laws by easing family reunification rules.

New Danish government could relax family reunification rules
Denmark's strict family reunification rules could be eased by the new government. Photo: Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

According to the platform for the new government, which was presented on Wednesday, family reunification rules could be eased.

Rules for family reunification have often been criticised by Denmark’s national media, with a long series of individual cases reported, highlighting the harsh impact of the rules on the lives of individual couples.

Ostensibly intended to restrict immigration from Middle Eastern countries, the rules also frequently impact the ability of non-EU nationals from other parts of the world, and even Danes themselves, to establish a family life in Denmark.


Specifically, the new government wants to change language criteria applied in family reunification cases.

It also wants to halve the so-called “bank guarantee” (bankgaranti), a requirement which demands couples deposit a large sum of money with municipalities while the foreign partner is granted residence under family reunification rules.

It is currently unclear how an adjustment of the language rules will take form, with discussions only having a general nature so far.

The Social Democrats, Liberals and Moderates on Wednesday presented their joint platform for going into coalition government together after weeks of talks.

The current family reunification rules have been in place since 2018, when they were passed by the centre-right government led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who is now set to return to government as the leader of the Moderate party.

READ ALSO: What are the new family reunification rules for parents of Danish children?

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Danish economists say abolition of Great Prayer Day is ‘not necessary’

Leading economists in Denmark say that scrapping the Great Prayer Day holiday is not a necessary measure and that the potential economic benefits for the state are dubious.

Danish economists say abolition of Great Prayer Day is ‘not necessary’

Three economists writing in a column in political media Altinget said there was “nothing necessary” about the plan to scrap Great prayer Day.

“Is it better, then, to cancel the government’s planned tax cuts, to cut public spending or to use the opposition’s alternative proposal?”, write the three economists: Ulrik Beck, senior economist with thinktank Kraka; and Michael Svarer and Hans Jørgen Whitta-Jacobsen, professors in economics at Aarhus and Aalborg universities respectively and both former members of the Danish Economic Councils.

The three economists go on to write that the answer to the question comes down to preferences and priorities.

They state that an opposition plan to raise an annual three billion kroner, the amount the government says the Finance Ministry will raise by scrapping Great Prayer Day, is “a fraction better”.

The three governing parties – the Social Democrats, Liberals (Venstre) and Moderates – want to abolish springtime public holiday Great Prayer Day in a move they say will enable increased defence spending to meet Nato targets by 2030, three years ahead of the current schedule. A bill was tabled by the government earlier in January.

The policy has met with criticism from trade unionsthe church and opposition parties, while the military itself has also distanced itself from the plan.


In an alternative proposal, the nine opposition parties say they can raise the money by diverting 1.25 billion kroner from the public investment budget, 1 billion kroner from a winter assistance programme which the parties say was over-financed, and savings on business support spending of 0.75 billion kroner.

The three economists write that the opposition proposal could hold back the welfare system in future, however. Additionally, a reduction in business support could harm companies.

Regarding the economic effect of scrapping Great Prayer Day, they state that although this has a potential monetary benefit, it is uncertain.

That is because people working in Denmark could choose to adjust their working hours by taking less overtime or “hours of interest” (interessetimer), they state.

In addition, collective bargaining agreements between trade unions and employers could eventually provide for an extra day off in response to emerging demand for this.

That would negate the effect of scrapping the holiday, the experts said.

READ ALSO: What is a Danish collective bargaining agreement?