In Denmark, the left wants to champion immigration restrictions

En 1952, Denmark was the first country in the world to ratify the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Seventy-one years later, the Scandinavian kingdom of 5.9 million inhabitants is held up as an example by conservative parties in Europe, such as Les Républicains in France, who wish to draw inspiration from its ultra-restrictive immigration policy, implemented by the right for almost twenty years and continued by the social democrats from 2019.

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However, the latter have long opposed the blows brought to the country’s reception policy. But, after another electoral failure in 2015, the party led by Mette Frederiksen changed its strategy. Objective: to regain the confidence of its traditional voters, who voted mainly for the Danish People’s Party, a nationalist anti-immigration formation, serving as an auxiliary force to the right since 2001.

To justify this controversial reorientation to the left, the rose party argued that by supporting a generous welcoming policy it had betrayed the working classes, who had to bear the brunt of immigration and failures of integration, and endangered the welfare state. For the first time in years, the 2019 election campaign was not centered on immigration. The left won, while the Danish People’s Party, weakened by scandals, collapsed to 8.7% of the vote (21% in 2015). In the 2022 legislative elections, three nationalist parties still mobilized more than 14% of the vote. Although they sit in opposition, their anti-immigration discourse is in the majority in Parliament.

Refugees no longer have a vocation to integrate

In 2019, the deputies recorded a “paradigm shift” in Danish asylum policy, the culmination of twenty years of efforts to dissuade candidates for exile from choosing Denmark. According to this “paradigm skift”, refugees no longer have a vocation to integrate, but to return as soon as possible to their country of origin. The effects of this policy appear mixed: in 2022, 94,000 residence permits were issued (not counting those for nearly 33,000 Ukrainians), compared to 38,000 in 2001. But the number of refugee statuses granted fell by 6,200 in 2001 to 1,400 in 2022, after peaking at 20,000 in 2015 and several fluctuations.

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Since 2015, it is necessary to have lived nine years in the country and to have worked there for at least two and a half years to receive the social minima. Refugees (there are just over 60,000) are entitled to a monthly allowance of 6,228 crowns (835 euros) for a single adult (double that with a child), provided they learn Danish and undergo training or are looking for a job. The police are entitled to seize their money or valuables, when they enter the territory, to finance their stay (which rarely happens).

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