What does it take to be a member of Danish society?
ENAR writes in its Shadow Report that the most significant development in Denmark has been the transition from a right-wing government, which ruled the country from 2001 to 2011, to a government led by the Social Democrats.
For the past decade, immigration and integration have been the most debated elements in Danish politics. The new government disbanded the infamous Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Integration, which under various hard-line ministers had played such an important yet negative role. At the same time, the Immigration Service -which had been an independent institution and one where so many ethnic minorities queued up with stacks of documents and hopes- was also reshuffled. The post of Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Integration was abolished and a new Ministry was established under a Social and Integration Minister. In one stroke, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s government defused the word ‘immigration’ and effectively ‘integrated’ immigration issues into the larger contexts of justice and social life.
If the message was not clear enough, the new coalition government’s Common Policy and Political Programme, an 80-page document spelt it out in plain words: “the divisive tone in the immigration debate was over, the vast majority of immigrants in Denmark do not have problems integrating. They are members of Danish society.”
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