EU rules hollowing out Danish immigration legislation

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies
 
The European Court of Justice’s ruling in the Metock case caused severe political outcry in Denmark as it challenges Danish immigration policy. According to the ruling, with the directive on free movement as point of reference, a non-community spouse of an EU citizen can move and reside with that citizen in the EU without having previously been lawfully a resident in a member state. As a consequence, with a short stay in another member state, a Dane can now be exempted from the Danish rules like the minimum age of 24, the presence of stronger ties to Denmark than to the home country of the spouse, financial guarantees, immigration test etc. The Danish government is concerned that the directive and the ruling undermine the strict Danish immigration legislation.[1]
 
The Danish interpretation of the EU rules has until recently limited Danish citizens’ opportunities to obtain family reunification, but with the Metock ruling it has now been made clear that Danish demands were incompatible to the freedom of movement directive.[2]
 

The first Western minister to visit Tbilisi

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies
 
The Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Møller, has on several occasions paid tribute to the French Presidency for its handling of the conflict in Georgia and its ability to disseminate between the two sides and put a hold to the fighting. Per Stig Møller believes that the French Presidency have secured a strong and cohesive EU.[1]
 
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been very active in the conflict of the Georgian breakaway provinces. In the beginning of July, Per Stig Møller, was the first Western minister to visit Tbilisi and the leaders in the province Abkhazia.[2] Denmark was sceptical about the EU resuming negotiations with Russia on a new economic and political partnership agreement after the Russian withdrawal in Georgia. Per Stig Møller did not consider the peace agreement to be complied with by Russia but, however, agreed to resume talks with Russia at the European Foreign Minister meeting on 10 November 2008.[3]
 

Energy and climate policy as top priority

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies
 
The French Presidency has generally received very positive critics in the Danish media and has been praised for its solutions to the many unexpected crises the EU has been facing: the Russia-Georgia conflict, the Irish ‘No’ and the financial crisis.
 

Has the time come to join the Eurozone?

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies
 
The global financial crisis has been of particular importance in Denmark because of its small, open economy and its exposure to global trade and investment. Related to this, Denmark’s economy, like that of the UK, tends to be further ahead in the economic cycle compared to the rest of the EU. Denmark was the first EU economy to enter technical recession in the 2nd quarter of 2008 and spent much of 2008 in recession.[1] The vulnerability of the Danish economy, based on global exposure and inflated housing sector, had been identified in 2007 as one of the three most fragile housing markets in the world, with similar vulnerabilities in its banking sector – in mid-2008 the official foreign reserves of the Danish National Bank as a percent of GDP were only about 10 percent (less than Iceland’s).[2]
 

Denmark and the USA: allies under Bush – allies under Obama

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies

The transition from President Bush to President Obama has been intensely discussed in Denmark in terms of Danish-US relations and transatlantic relations. The Danish government’s close relations to Bush had been demonstrated by Danish military participation in Afghanistan and Iraq – on his last day in office Bush spoke to Prime Minister Rasmussen by phone.[1] But while Rasmussen does not comment on Bush’s record as President, his fellow party member, Søren Pind, described the Bush era as ‘morally corrupt’ in reference to allegations of torture and mistreatment of terrorist suspects by US personal.[2] During the election campaign Barack Obama had been critical of US allies, including Denmark, for not doing enough to help the Iraqi refugee crisis.[3] Prime Minister Rasmussen hoped to maintain very close ties between the USA and Denmark, but in the first week of the Obama administration these hopes dissolved as Denmark (and the Netherlands) did not want to help take freed detainees resettled from Guantánamo Bay detention centre.[4]
 

Lisbon Treaty and Danish opt-outs

Denmark
Danish Institute for International Studies
 
In general, the solution to the ratification crisis was met with great satisfaction in Denmark and was conceived as a sign that the EU, despite crisis, is still able to find a common way forward. The renewed will to reach consensus and produce results was interpreted as a result of the effective leadership of the French Presidency, and as a result of the current financial crisis and the economic recession which have created a need for the member states to move closer together.[1]
 
Prior to the European Council meeting, the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, voiced satisfaction with Ireland holding a second referendum with concessions from the EU on the right to keep one Commissioner per country. The concession was easy to grant for the Danish government as the Danish debate on the Lisbon Treaty had also showed concerns about reducing the size of the Commission.[2]