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Inside Denmark: The show all Danes are talking about and justifying the citizenship fee hike

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Inside Denmark: The show all Danes are talking about and justifying the citizenship fee hike
Inger Støjberg's poster during the 2022 general election. She is slightly (but not much) less prominent on the EU election version, although she is not running for office this time. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

From Inger Støjberg’s appendix to citizenship fees and possibly the Danish TV event of the year, the weekly column Inside Denmark takes a look at what we've been talking about in Denmark this week.

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Inside Denmark is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in Denmark that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it earlier in their inbox by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

Blockbuster documentary could have political consequences

A new television series has arguably been Denmark’s most talked-about topic over the last couple of weeks, and it’s not Baby Reindeer.

Broadcaster TV 2’s revelatory series Den Sorte Svane (“The Black Swan”) revolves around lawyer Amira Smajic, who acts as a mole while dealing with people from various parts of Denmark’s underworld as well as apparently corrupt businessmen.

The series repeatedly succeeded in exposing possible crimes and corruption before Smajic (spoiler alert) spectacularly turned against the showmakers in the last episode, threatening them and trying to have its broadcast shut down.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it (there are subtitles but only in Danish).

Since it was first released, there have been several reports in various Danish media on several of the characters (as in, real lawyers, businessmen and people with gang links and, in some cases, criminal convictions), some of whom have been reported to police or fired from their jobs.

Satirical social media accounts have also been quick to jump on the hype around the documentary.

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The cand.merc.memes account received thousands of likes for its play on the "starter pack" meme, referencing the fakturafabrik or "invoice factory" method cited in the documentary as a way to launder money.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Cand.Merc.Memes (@cand.merc.memes)

The documentary could (and, you could easily argue, should) have some far-reaching consequences given the amount of corruption it potentially exposes.

The government has invited opposition parties to a meeting on Monday at which they will discuss what to do about crimes like money laundering and tax evasion, which are among those most frequently exposed in the series.

Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard has earlier said politicians must “understand that enablers from the top of society assist hardened criminals in money laundering”.

Appendix, garden hedge get in the way of Støjberg’s EU campaign

Inger Støjberg, the hardline former immigration minister who is perhaps Denmark’s most divisive politician, has been sidelined from the EU election campaign by appendicitis.

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On Facebook, Støjberg wrote she had woken up with stomachache “a tad worse than what you get from a bad shellfish buffet”.

She has already had the appendix removed and said she hopes to be back campaigning with the Denmark Democrats, the nationalist party she founded, on Saturday.

Her supporters will be glad of her quick recovery and her opponents will presumably not begrudge it either.

Perhaps I should ask my wife to confirm the latter (I’m certain she would, by the way).

The other week, a Denmark Democrats election placard, was fixed to a lamppost outside our home, prominently featuring Støjberg (who is an MP and not running for election herself).

That was enough to irk my wife, who didn’t mince her words: jeg gider ikke glo på hendes fjæs, når jeg er ude at lege med børnene: “I don’t want to stare at her mug when I’m outside playing with the kids”.

We later asked a volunteer from another (also conservative) party to move the placard down a bit so it isn’t visible from the garden, and they were kind enough to oblige.

Støjberg has featured prominently as the Denmark Democrats have campaigned for election to the EU parliament for the first time. The party is likely to have a decent showing if you base your prediction (as I do) on the general expectation that the election will see the right gaining ground across much of Europe.

Elections for the EU are this Sunday. You can read about the Danish aspect of the elections here.

Citizenship fee going up, but should we moan about it?

When the government earlier this week said it was hiking the citizenship fee by 50 percent to 6,000 kroner I felt more than a little put out.

There’s little justification for such a big raise to an already high fee, was my immediate feeling.

We then put out a survey asking our readers for their views and my opinion has certainly been challenged by some of the responses.

READ ALSO: ‘A concern’: What foreigners in Denmark think of the cost of becoming a citizen

One reader said that plenty of other costs for foreigners residing in Denmark, such as work and residency permits or permanent residence applications, cost more than citizenship. She also said that she paid these for herself and her family without complaining.

Others admitted they were concerned about the climbing costs – the citizenship application fee used to be a peanuts-by-comparison 1,200 kroner – but admitted they were unlikely to put them off applying for citizenship in the bigger picture.

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