Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party Lars Barfoed says he is prepared to relax immigration legislation in order to make it easier for foreign labour to come to Denmark.
The move comes following the weekend announcement of a pact between the Conservatives and Social Liberals to end bloc politics and drag the centre-right and centre-left towards the centre of Danish parliamentary politics and away from reliance on the far right or far left.
“As we go forward we are facing some different challenges, which among other things are those connected to a need for labour. Businesses are stressing this as a challenge in the next few years. Denmark must be seen as an open country where it is easy to recruit the employees you need,” Barfoed says.
“It is too early to say what will happen on the legislation front. I just think that going forward we can find a policy with other parties in Parliament on issues that address immigration policy,” Barfoed adds.
Barfoed’s statements are a further challenge to the Danish People’s Party, whose loyal support has been instrumental in keeping the Liberal-Conservative government in power for the past decade.
“We have introduced the restrictions that are necessary. There is no need for further restrictions,” Barfoed says.
The Danish People’s Party says the new policy line from the Conservatives means that immigration policy will be relaxed.
“If you don’t let legislation follow with the times, you surrender your ability to close the holes that may develop. If you don’t act in time, developments overtake you. Situations develop all the time that require you to close the holes,” says DPP Deputy Chairman Peter Skaarup.
The Danish People’s Party is to present a new catalogue of immigration demands and initiatives at a news conference later today.
The party is expected to call for fewer asylum centres in Denmark, and more in the regions that people are attempting to escape from – an idea Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Lib) has already rejected. Demands are also expected to include new requirements on foreigners in Denmark, including what is being called ‘turbo integration’.
Barfoed says he is prepared to cooperate with a centre-left government on all political issues.
“From foreign policy, to culture policy to economic policy. We are looking for influence on all policies, irrespective of which government leads the country,” Barfoed says.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood