Sunday

18th Apr 2021

EU court: Denmark's family-reunification law 'unjustified'

  • Denmark's family-reunification policies are among the toughest in Europe (Photo: vic xia)

Europe's top court has delivered a blow against Denmark's tough family reunification laws, in a case that is likely to cause headaches for its new left-leaning government.

Judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg on Wednesday (10 July) ruled that Danish restriction laws preventing a legally-resident Turkish national from bringing his wife to Denmark were unjustified.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Mette Frederiksen, Denmark's 41-year old prime minister, may face a backlash over the ECJ ruling (Photo: Social Demokratiet)

The implication of the ruling could open up some 8,000 other pending cases in the Scandinavian country, whose tough stand on immigration has only slightly softened since the socialist camp took over the leadership last month.

Denmark's newly-appointed foreign and integration minister Mattias Tesfaye described the ruling as a potential "roadside bomb in Danish immigration policy", as cited in the Danish press.

The case at the ECJ revolves around Danish family reunification laws for married couples. Those laws weigh a connection criteria between Denmark and the country of origin - in this case, Turkey.

Although the rules were changed in 2018, the latest verdict stretches back some 10 years when settlement requirements in Denmark were different.

"Such a restriction is unjustified," noted the judges of the conditions imposed on the couple.

The court ruled against Denmark, in part because of the decades-old association agreement between the EU and Turkey that demands the exoneration of work and residency permit restrictions on Turkish nationals, including their family members.

The case involves a Turkish woman who lives in Turkey. In 2009, she sought to reunite with her husband and four children, all of whom have permanent residency in Denmark.

The children were all born in Turkey and the couple had divorced in 1998. The husband and children managed to get a permanent residency through his separate marriage to a German national, who also had residency in Denmark.

However, he then divorced his German spouse in June 2009 and remarried his former Turkish wife in August the same year.

She then filed for a reunification request with the Danish authorities in September 2009.

The Danish authorities argued her connection with Turkey was far stronger, despite having her entire immediate family in Denmark.

Asked to comment, a Danish government spokesperson has yet to respond as of publication.

Denmark's immigration policies have raised tricky questions in the past and pointed towards a right-wing influence on the laws.

In 2016, the government proposed holding public auctions of jewellery confiscated from asylum seekers.

The Social Democratic party under the new 41-year old prime minister Mette Frederiksen has also backed confiscating jewellery from asylum seekers and slapping bans on Islamic face veils.

It has also supported proposals to offshore the processing of asylum seekers in reception centres in north Africa.

Denmark set to complete social democrat sweep of Nordics

The leader of the Danish Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, is poised to win national elections on Wednesday and complete a shift of power in all the three Nordic EU countries to having social democrat leaders.

Denmark threatens Syria deportations amid EU concerns

Denmark is stripping Syrians of residency rights - the first country in the EU to do so - amid threats to deport them back home. The EU did not comment directly, but warned that Syria is not safe.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Analysis

Frontex scrutiny on rights violations is a PR stunt

Greece denies any illegal pushbacks at sea. The EU takes their version of events as face value, in a system unable and unwilling to shed doubt on Greek authorities - posing accountability questions on the EU's border guard agency Frontex.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us