Denmark to Limit “Non-Western” Immigrant Neighbourhood Populations to 30% to Reduce Risk of “Parallel” Societies


Denmark is set to limit the number of “non-Western” residents in localities by 30% in order to “reduce the risk of religious and cultural parallel societies.”

The Social Democrat government announced on Wednesday that a new bill reviewing existing legislation will decrease migrant resident populations in local communities to 30% within 10 years in the hope of boosting assimilation and reducing the risk of “ghetto[isation].” 

The bill, which is expected to affect 58 areas and more than 100,000 people, follows controversial legislation introduced in 2018 which designated certain areas as “ghettos” if they fell under a number of criteria. Denmark has designated areas as ghettoes as early as 2010, with the 2018 legislation setting four criteria designed to better define these areas. 

Fifteen Danish localities are currently classed as ghettoes, with 25 others considered at risk. In order to qualify as a ghetto, a locality must meet at least two of the criteria listed and must have an immigrant population of 50 per cent. The four criteria to meet the definition of a ghetto are: 

Denmark’s migrant population has grown rapidly in recent years, with 11 per cent of the Danish population coming from a migrant background and 6 per cent of “non-western” origin. Concerns within Denmark relating to migrant numbers prompted the 2018 Conservative government to introduce legislation reducing the number of council homes in ghetto areas by 40% by 2030, and included the introduction of double penalties for crimes committed in ghetto areas. Speaking to Danish newspaper Berlingske in 2018, former Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen stated:

“Vandalism, theft or threats could be the reason (for double penalties). That means the hammer will fall extra hard in those areas.” 

The 2018 legislation came at the same time as Denmark’s burqa ban, with Poulsen announcing that covering one’s face is “incompatible with the values ​​of the Danish society” and a ban will “draw a line in the sand and establish that here in Denmark we show each other trust and respect by meeting each other face to face.”

The bill announced on Wednesday seeks to remove the “ghetto” designation while seeking to reduce the associated risks in migrant populated areas. According to Interior Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek, too many non-Western foreigners in one area “increases the risk of an emergence of religious and cultural parallel societies” but “the term ghetto is misleading”. The Interior Minister affirmed that he believed the term to contribute to “eclipsing a large amount of work that needs doing in these neighbourhoods” adding that the concerned localities would be designated “vulnerable” or “disadvantaged” areas under the new legislation. 

The bill will be voted on and is expected to pass but no date has been set as of yet.

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