A proposal by the far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right, NB) party would change the way the Danish parliament processes citizenship applications so that individuals can be more easily rejected, according to a report by newspaper Politiken.
The plan has received the backing of the Danish People’s Party (DF) , the other anti-immigration party on Denmark’s far right. Significantly, it also has signs of support from the governing Social Democrats, the newspaper writes.
Under Danish law, citizenship can only be granted to foreign nationals via legal nationalisation: applications must actually be voted for by a parliamentary majority.
Accepted applications are normally processed via bills put in front of parliament twice yearly, in April and in October.
NB wants to change this practice so that, instead of approving a single bill with hundreds of (pre-approved) citizenship applications, parliament can more easily reject individual claims by splitting them into different bills.
The party wants to discriminate claims based on the nationality of the applicant, according to Politiken’s report.
“We favour, for example, that persons from so-called ‘Menapt’ countries [Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, ed.] be put on a separate bill so they can be voted against,” NB citizenship spokesperson Mette Thiesen told the newspaper.
“We want to be able to vote for the people who really deserve a citizenship, but not those who we absolutely don’t think should have it,” Thiesen added.
People who apply for Danish citizenship must fulfil a series of criteria and pass a citizenship test, and their claims are assessed by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration prior to being sent for the parliamentary bill. As such, the applications that come before parliament have already fulfilled the legal criteria.
Negotiations over potential changes to citizenship rules are ongoing between Danish parties. Earlier this week, the centre-right Liberal party said it wanted assessment of applicants to include a personal interview to determine whether that person has “Danish values”.
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Thiesen told Politiken that “of course” politicians could sort citizenship applicants based on source country if they so wish.
“We’re the ones giving out citizenship. It’s not a right to get Danish citizenship,” she said.
It should be noted that, even if applications were voted for in different bills, it would still require a parliamentary majority to reject them.
The Danish People’s Party said it backed the idea. The party has previously voted against bills formalising citizenship applications.
“We would actually like to vote yes to many Nordic citizens and people from South Schleswig [German border region, ed.], but because we oppose so many from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries getting citizenship, we vote no to the bills as they are. And thereby end up voting no to some people who we really want to have citizenship, and that situation is a shame,” DF citizenship spokesperson Marie Krarup told Politiken.
The spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, appeared open to the suggestion in a comment given to the newspaper.
“The premise itself, that there are special problems with people from those Menapt countries, we recognise that,” Rasmussen said.