Wednesday

18th Oct 2017

Danish immigration law under fire after EU court ruling

A recent EU court immigration ruling is causing headaches for the Danish centre-right government and may deliver a blow to the country's immigration policies, which are amongst the most restrictive in Europe.

The European Union's highest court ruled last Friday (25 July) in a case of four couples living in Ireland that spouses of EU citizens who are not themselves EU citizens can not be prevented from living in the Republic.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • In the wake of the ruling, on Monday, a number of couples turned up at the Danish Ministry for Integration in Copenhagen demanding a review of the ministry's rejection of their applications to settle as couples in Denmark. (Photo: EUobserver)

Previously, under Irish law, a spouse from outside the European Union must have lived in another member state first in order to win residency rights. However the court ruled that this is in breach of EU law on the free movement of citizens.

Inspired by the new EU ruling, a number of couples turned up on Monday (28 July) at the Danish Ministry for Integration in Copenhagen demanding a review of the ministry's rejection of their applications to settle as couples in Denmark.

Having been denied residence in Denmark, many such couples settle in the city of Malmo in Sweden, about half an hour's drive from Copenhagen, as Sweden has less restrictive immigration laws.

The Danish parliament's ombudsman earlier in the summer announced an investigation into whether the Danish Immigration Service had misinformed individuals inquiring about regulations on the settling of foreign spouses in Denmark.

Danish newspapers are further reporting that a Danish common knowledge test for immigrants may also not be in line with EU rules.

In reaction, the Danish minister in charge of immigration, Birthe Ronn Hornbech, has now announced a review of the entire system of immigration in the country.

"The government must tell the EU system that it was a prerequisite for Danish EU membership to be able to run our immigration policies independently," said the spokesperson on EU affairs of the right-wing Danish Peoples Party, Morten Messerchmidt, on Danish Radio.

The Liberal-Conservative minority government depends on the support of his party.

Mr Messerchmidt suggested immigration should be covered by a Danish general exemption from EU justice policies, while legal experts have stated that the fundamental principle of free movement of citizens in the EU would supercede this.

Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published a comment on Tuesday (29 July) arguing that the EU court is doing the job of elected politicians.

"This practice is a democratic problem", wrote Ralf Pittelkow, adviser to former Social Democratic Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen.

"The judges are crafting a lot of policies because the politicians allow them the margin to do so. Political decisions that ought to be the responsibility of elected representatives are left with the court".

Despite strict immigration practices, the number of residence permits in Denmark has almost doubled in five years - from 33,363 in 2002 to 58,569 in 2007, according to figures from the Danish Immigration Service.

Tusk summits to create new-model EU

Tusk has proposed a series of 13 top-level talks to take forward European reform, but his backing for a multi-speed Europe risks deepening divide.

Catalonia to declare independence in a few days

Spain's king, Felipe VI, said Catalonia's leaders were breaking up the country's unity as hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied against police violence at Sunday's referendum.

EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia

A former commission official who now represents the Catalan government says some European commissioners do not agree with the EU commission's official statement on Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.

Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis

Spanish political leaders called on Catalan separatists to organise regional elections as a way to avoid emergency measures due to be taken on Thursday. That's "not on the table", a Catalan official replied.

Tusk summits to create new-model EU

Tusk has proposed a series of 13 top-level talks to take forward European reform, but his backing for a multi-speed Europe risks deepening divide.

News in Brief

  1. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  2. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  3. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  4. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  5. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'
  6. EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far
  7. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  8. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership