Social democracy stands for a foreign policy that is both fair and realistic. A foreign policy that unites Denmark.
Integration Policy: The New Freedom struggle
THE NEW FREEDOM STRUGGLE. Integration policy is not just about learning the Danish language and becoming part of the labor market. It is just as much a matter of sharing the basic values of our society.
Integration policy: Part of society
Integration policy is not just about learning the Danish language and becoming part of the labor market. It is just as much a matter of sharing the basic values of our society.
Many have entered Denmark without becoming part of Denmark. Social Democracy will change that.
Integration policy is not just about language and work. It is at least as much about values and cultural barriers. We as a society have long believed that if only those who came here learned the language and got a job, then they would also share our values. And fortunately, many do. But, unfortunately, there are too many who are ideological opponents of our democracy and societal values and who oppose it wherever they can.
They are destroying more than probably many integration projects can ever fix.
Throughout history, social democracy has fought the barriers and inequalities that keep people in an unfair existence. In Denmark, we have secured women’s voting rights, taken a stand with patriarchal societal structures and given the gay right to be ecclesiastically devoted. When it comes to creating a society that sets people free, we have come a long way in Denmark over the last 100 years. This is primarily due to the expansion of our welfare model. Free and equal access to health. Education for all and a flexible labor market. Caring when you get old. It provides security. And thus real freedom to create the life you want.
Many have entered Denmark without becoming part of Denmark
Too many have been granted asylum and have entered Denmark without becoming part of Denmark. It squeezes the cohesiveness. When many non-Western immigrants – not least women – go home instead of working, it does not only mean that they find it harder to make a living in Danish society. It also has financial consequences. According to the Ministry of Finance, the public net expenditure on non-western immigrants and descendants was DKK 33 billion in 2014.
Freedom for the individual – created by and in a community
Denmark is based on the fact that we have a strong community. A community that everyone feels obligated to be a part of and contribute to. Because we have expectations for each other. And because we create a common understanding of who we are as a country and as a people. And what community we want.
Many foreigners have become an integral part of Danish society. Because they speak the language, are at work or otherwise contribute, and because they share our values. They are Danes just like everyone else. Because they have wanted it themselves, fought for it and because we as a society have given them the opportunity.
Unfortunately, some of the non-western immigration to Denmark has also meant that today we have areas in our country where freedom does not exist for everyone. Where you are not part of a Danish community. And where the consequences of social control are deeply disturbing. Forced marriages, honor killings, violence, pressure to wear a scarf, re-enactment journeys, ban on going to leisure activities. All that is going on in Denmark.
It is first and foremost a struggle for and with the many new Danes who share the Danish values and who, more than anything else, would like to be part of our society. But that is being prevented by their families and the environments that they are part of. That is why it is also a struggle for our democracy. And because religion is always subordinate to our democracy.
Integration policy is also a struggle for mixed schools, mixed neighborhoods, and mixed communities. Because the alternative is parallel society, which makes integration somewhat near impossible. In parallel societies, other norms and rules exist than those in the rest of society. And extreme minorities can unmistakably preach hatred and resentment towards Danish society and other religions.
Social democracy wants an integration policy where more people must contribute to our society. Therefore, we will introduce a duty to contribute for immigrants on cash assistance and integration benefit, equivalent to normal work for 37 hours a week.
This is not an easy task we are facing. And it is not solved with a single proposal or right away. Not least, this requires that we become more clear about the values that apply in Denmark.
Here, the answer should be simple: Either they become part of Denmark, with everything it entails. About contributing to society and supporting our basic democratic values. Or they find another place to live that is more in line with their values.