Richard Orange, The Telegraph, February 21, 2021
Jino Victoria Doabi’s voice cracks as she describes the bidding war between Denmark’s political parties to make it harder for those born abroad to become citizens.
“It makes me feel that I’m not worth anything,” the 28-year-old sobs. “I study at the finest university in Denmark and I study the hardest of everyone, and I work hard to improve democracy too, and still this is nothing – just because of where I was born.”
In most respects, Denmark is a socially-progressive Scandinavian nation, with low levels of inequality, generous welfare, and liberal views on gender equality.
But the influence of the populist Danish People’s Party over the last 20 years has pushed even the supposedly centrist Social Democratic and Liberal parties towards positions normally more associated with anti-Islamic populist like Donald Trump.
And if a new proposal from the populist New Right and Danish People’s Party wins the backing of the parties of the centre-right and centre-left, she perhaps never will. The New Right’s proposal would split those eligible for citizenship into two groups – those from predominantly Muslim areas such as the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and those from elsewhere. It would mean that when parliament voted through its biannual citizenship bill, MPs would be able to vote through one group but not the other.
It’s not just the populists. Under their new leader Mette Frederiksen, the Social Democrats have swung decisively to the right on immigration, winning large numbers of working-class voters back from the Danish People’s Party, and grabbing the attention of ailing left-of-centre parties across Europe.
“For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid by the lower classes,” Ms Frederiksen wrote in a biography published in the run-up to the 2019 election.
Her party in the run-up to the election called for a cap on “non-Western immigrants”, and has called for those seeking asylum in the European Union to await their decision at a camp in North Africa. It was the Social Democrats who in December launched the inter-party talks on tightening citizenship, with a proposal to make it harder for convicted criminals to become citizens, with those convicted of terrorism, gang crimes and rape facing a lifetime ban.
The only parties pushing in the other direction are the small, minority parties of the centre and left, such as the Social Liberal party for which Miss Doabi is standing as a citizen representative in Copenhagen, and the Red-Green Alliance, which has attacked the interview proposals as a form of “mind control”.