Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

Danish government cuts transfer incomes for new immigrants

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 3rd July 2015

The new Venstre minority government today tabled a bill introducing new rules for transfer incomes to newly arrived immigrants with the aim of making it less attractive for immigrants to come to Denmark, and more attractive for them to work and contribute to Danish society. Further restrictions are expected.

Inger Støjberg, the minister for immigration, integration and housing in the new Venstre (Liberals) minority government, has agreed with the Danish People’s party, Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives to introduce new rules for transfer incomes to people who have not resided in Denmark for at least seven of the past eight years.

The actual target group is defined as “newly arrived foreigners and Danes who have not resided in Denmark for at least seven of the past eight years and who cannot be accorded the status of migrant workers or self-employed people under EU legislation”.

The new rules, to take effect on 1st September 2015, aim at making it less attractive for immigrants to come to Denmark, and more attractive for those already in Denmark to work and contribute to Danish society.

The level of the so-called integration transfer income to immigrants will be cut to match the transfer income given to university students.

In addition, the principle that refugees must earn the right to child benefits will be re-introduced (it was abolished by the previous government), and the current special rules for refugees to acquire pension rights will be abolished.

As examples, the ministry says that a single person without children will in future receive an integration transfer income of DKK 5,945 a month before tax, compared with DKK 10,849 today, while a couple over 30 years old, with children, will receive DKK 16,638 in integration transfer income a month before tax, compared with DKK 28,832 today.

Immigrants proving their wish to integrate into Danish society by passing an examination in Danish can receive DKK 1,500 a month in addition to the integration transfer income.

“We must tighten our regime and get the flow of asylum-seekers to Denmark under control,” Støjberg said. The bill “will give a pronounced tightening of the conditions for foreigners wanting to come to Denmark. This is the first in a series of restrictions that the government will introduce to get the area of aliens under control again.”

PM Fogh Rasmussen told US Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to an invasion of Iraq a year before the war

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 3rd July 2015

According to the daily newspaper Politiken, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense in George W Bush’s administration, that Denmark ‘would undoubtedly give its support’ to a US-led invasion of Iraq a year before that war started.

Politiken says this information is contained in a classified note that it has accessed in the archives of the Prime Minister’s Office. The note minutes a meeting at the Pentagon between Fogh Rasmussen and Wolfowitz on 27th March 2002, when they reportedly discussed Iraq.

At the time, Fogh Rasmussen’s public line was that no decision had been made about possible participation in military action against Iraq.

Fogh Rasmussen apparently told Wolfowitz that going to war would require proof that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed and was developing weapons of mass destruction.

When it tabled a parliamentary motion – B118 – to participate in the invasion in Iraq, however, the Liberal-led coalition government with the Conservatives (and backed by the Danish People’s Party) cited Saddam Hussein’s failure to collaborate satisfactorily with the UN’s weapons inspectors as the reason for going to war.

The motion was adopted by a narrow majority in Folketinget, the Danish parliament, on 21st January 2003.

Whether Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed his comments at the meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, and his possible role as an early member of the US alliance against Saddam Hussein, with Per Stig Møller, the then Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the other members of the government is unclear: Fogh Rasmussen told Politiken that he did not wish to make any comments, while Møller ‘could not recall’ the meeting.

The report in the Danish daily Politiken comes the day after the commission charged with investigating the decision-making process behind Denmark’s participation in the war against Iraq (and later Afghanistan) – and its legitimacy under Danish and international law – was formally closed.

The commission was disbanded by the new Liberal minority government as one of its first acts after it took office on 29th June – according to Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen because ‘sufficient light has already been thrown’ on the decision-making process.

Due to internal disagreements and for other reasons, the commission, set up in 2012 by the coalition government of the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People’s Party, had done little more than collect and read classified documents and prepare a time-line; the first interviews with leading politicians, civil servants and others would have been held later this year.

Click here to read Politiken‘s news story in Danish