From file: Migrants after arriving in Denmark from Germany in September 2015 | Photo: EPA/Jens Noergaard Larsen
From file: Migrants after arriving in Denmark from Germany in September 2015 | Photo: EPA/Jens Noergaard Larsen

The Danish government wants even tougher restrictions on the number 'non-western' residents in neighborhoods. A new bill aims to restrict their number to 30% or less within the next ten years.

The Danish interior ministry is proposing a bill that would reduce the number of residents of "non-Western" origin in any Danish neighborhood to a maximum of 30% within 10 years.

Too many non-western foreign residents in an area "increase the risk of the emergence of parallel societies from a social and religious point of view," Danish Interior Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek argued, according news agency AFP.

Extremely restrictive migration policy

Denmark has long had some of the most restrictive policies on migration in Europe. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen did not change the course of Denmark's migration policies after her victory against the conservatives in 2019. Her Social Democrats are known for championing extremely restrictive migration policies, unlike most other European center-left parties.

The new bill is a review of existing legislation aimed at combatting 'parallel societies', which was passed into law by the previous conservative government three years ago.

That bill has repeatedly been criticized by migrant and economic justice activists across Denmark and Europe as discriminatory against minorities and poor people.

Neighboorhoods declared 'ghettos'

Under the current legislation, neighborhoods where 50% or more of the population are migrants and descendants of non-western migrants can be considered "ghettos" if they meet two of the following criteria:

  • More than 40% of residents unemployed
  • More than 60% of residents aged 39 to 50 don't have a high school education
  • Rates of criminal activity three times higher than the national average
  • Residents have a gross income 55% lower than the regional average

Harsher punishment for crimes

In neighborhoods considered "ghettos", penalties for crimes can be doubled and daycare is mandatory for children over the age of one. Public housing in these neighborhoods is supposed to be reduced to 40% by 2030 -- which could mean that people will lose their homes and be forced to move.

Fifteen Danish districts currently fall under the category "ghetto", and 25 others are considered "at risk". The list is updated every December.

New bill: Fewer 'non-westerns', but term 'ghetto' removed

The new bill proposed by the Social Democrats would decrease the 'non-westerns' limit to 30%. It will also remove the term "ghetto" from the legislation because it is "misleading", the interior ministry said.

The new bill will be discussed is expected to pass in the Danish parliament, though a date for the vote has not yet been set.

Roughly 9% of Denmark's residents can be considered 'non-western' because they themselves or their parents hail from non-western countries.

According to Danish government figures, 11% of Denmark's 5.8 million residents are of foreign origin, and 58% come from a country considered 'non-western'. Roughly 3% of Denmark's residents are descendants of immigrants from 'non-western' countries.

With ANSA, AFP, dpa


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