Correspondent in Berlin
The Danish Prime Minister, the Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen, has just announced another turn of the screw to its restrictive policy on immigration. He wants to withdraw public aid and subsidies for immigrants that are not working and contributing in the Danish public system. «For too many years we have done a disservice to many people by not asking for anything», has justified this new demand- His Minister of Labor, Peter Hummelgard, alleges for his part that «the most important thing for us is that people get out of their homes ”.
The measure is part of a package of reforms that Frederiksen has presented with the aim of increasing the integration of immigrants and balance a social system in which he considers that aid to immigrants and refugees weighs too much. It will affect unemployed people with “integration needs” who receive financial support from the State. “We want to introduce a new work logic where people have a duty to make a contribution and be useful,” Frederiksen explained, “and if they can’t find a regular job, they’ll have to do some other kind of service to get their pay. grants’.
Initially, the scheme is intended for those who have been receiving state benefits for three or four years and do not have a certain level of education and knowledge of Danish. The working day must be at least 37 hours per week. “It can be a job on the beach collecting cigarette butts or plastics, or helping to solve various tasks in a company,” said Hummelgaard. The Danish government, which has publicly set itself the goal of reducing the number of asylum seekers to zero, also notes with concern the low employment rate among women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and believes that it will help their integration. this new regulation, which has yet to be approved by Parliament. So far, the main criticism has come from the left. “I’m afraid this will lead to state-sponsored social dumping,” said Folketing spokeswoman Mai Villadsen.
The Danish Government thus takes a further step in tightening its immigration policy, after approving last June an Asylum Law that will allow applicants to be deported to centers located in countries outside the EU during the time it takes to process their application and even once they have obtained refugee status, so that they do not step on Danish territory except with the status of refugee already granted. Copenhagen hopes to reach agreements with other countries that take over such centers as a subcontractor and discourage entry into the country or prevent it altogether. The bill, promoted by the center-left government and supported by the right and the extreme right, was approved with the vote of 70 deputies in favor and 24 against.
Frederiksen has also withdrawn the residence permit of Syrian refugees, after modifying the official classification of Damascus, which has become considered a “safe area” and has toughened the “antiquity” law, to limit the number of “non-Western” inhabitants that can live in each neighborhood to 30%, as a target to be covered in ten years. In the target neighborhoods, children are obliged to attend nursery schools from the first year of age, in order to promote Western-style socialization and language learning, and families who refuse are subject to subsidies and social assistance from the State .
These policies have been criticized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for “contrary to the principles on which international cooperation on refugees is based”, but their reproaches do not seem to affect Frederiksen, who claims the victory as his own victory. fact that only 761 people obtained asylum in Denmark in 2019 and another 600 in 2020. Denmark actually receives ten times fewer refugees than its German or Swedish neighbors.