The move towards a stricter line in immigration policy was emphasized as a key factor of the Danish Social Democratic Party when the party withdrew government authority from the bourgeois parties in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
In those elections, the voters were not as interested in the issue of immigration as before, and one of the reasons for this was that the conflict was over. The parties have largely agreed that it will be a restrictive immigration policy, says Kasper Müller-Hansen, a professor of political science at the University of Copenhagen.
During the election campaign, the Social Democrats stated that they want to create a new asylum system and move both the refugees and the entire application process to a third country outside Europe. During the spring, it was introduced as a bill in Parliament.
It is a symbolic policy. The proposal sends a clear signal to voters that they support a strict immigration policy and that is important for Social Democrats, because that is what they lost voters to before, says Casper Mueller-Hansen.
The bourgeois opposition parties like Venstre, the Konservative and Liberal Alliance, and the right-wing populist parties Dansk Folkeparti and Nye Borgerlige in theory might like an asylum system outside Denmark, but when the bill was approved for a first reading in Parliament, it received heavy criticism. The lack of details such as how the asylum process should be legally safe and in which country the asylum center should be.
The bill is part of the domestic political game that is going on in Denmark all the time. The Social Democrats do not want to give the bourgeois parties an opportunity to pursue a strict integration policy. They want to kill the subject and want to be seen as the party with the most restrictive immigration policy, Muller-Hansen says.
“The virtuous city”
The new asylum system that the Social Democratic government wants to bypass is called “utopia”.
It’s more symbolic than anything you can imagine will come true, says Casper Muller-Hansen.
Parliament will take the bill for a second reading on Tuesday, and the vote will take place on Thursday.