Denmark History in the 21st Century
At the beginning of the 21st century. the main issues at the center of Danish political life were essentially two: immigration policy and the process of European integration. Since the mid-nineties of the 20th century. in fact, a strongly xenophobic current of opinion had emerged which in the early elections of March 1998 had awarded the new Dansk Folkeparti with more than 7 % of the votes (equal to 13 seats) (DF, Danish People’s Party), which presented itself with a campaign centered entirely on the need for stricter controls on the flow of immigrants. As for the second question (despite the commitment of the center-left government, at the helm of the country since 1993, in favor of the participation of the Denmark in the European Union), since the early nineties public opinion had repeatedly expressed a decisive anti-Europeanism, so much so that the two parties that had made the anti-European prejudice their almost exclusive feature (the Folkebevægelsen mod EU, People’s Movement against the European Union, and the Juni Bevægelsen, the June Movement) had obtained, in the elections for the European Parliament of June 1994, more than25 % of the votes. Mistrust of the European Union had already emerged in 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty was ratified by a popular referendum only following the exemption from certain clauses such as the single currency, defense policy and cooperation between police forces of member countries, and manifested itself again in 1998, when the approval, again by referendum, of the subsequent Treaty of Amsterdam was mainly due to the ecological innovations included in the same treaty, underlined by the electoral campaign of the center-left government aimed at to urge the environmental awareness widespread in Danish public opinion.
According to topmbadirectory, although the results of the new European elections of June 1999 registered a holding of the parties that supported EU membership (in fact, both the liberals, Venstre, and the Social Democrats, Socialdemokratiet confirmed their respective consensus), the profound distrust of most of the opinion Danish public made itself heard again in September 2000, when the 53% of voters rejected joining the single currency. Thus a transversal alignment was configured that saw united, against the supporters of the euro (social democrats, liberals, economic and financial establishment, trade unions and important newspapers), the xenophobic extreme right of the people’s party, the left-wing coalition Red unitary list -verde (Enhedslisten – de Rød-Grønne) and the People’s Socialist Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti), all united, albeit from different points of view, by the fear of a loss of national sovereignty (in matters of immigration, welfare, but also of a real cultural identity) for the benefit of Europe. The early political elections of November 2001 they brought the question of immigrants back to the center of the political debate, revealing also in this case, in a large part of the electorate, the entrenchment of fears and hostility, especially towards the Islamic component. The liberals, led by AF Rasmussen, supporters of a strict line on immigration, obtained 56 seats (compared to 42 in 1998) and the People’s Party, on openly xenophobic positions, went from 13 to 22 seats; the Conservative People’s Party (Konservative Folkeparti, KF) won 16 seats, while the Social Democrats recorded a serious defeat (from 63 to 52 seats) which led them to lose the traditional parliamentary dominance. In that same November the country thus returned, after seven years, to being governed by a center-right coalition (conservatives and liberals) led by AF Rasmussen. Despite the initial distances from Dansk Folkeparti publicly expressed by the premier at the beginning of the legislature, in July 2002 the new government adopted a series of restrictive measures on immigration, the right to asylum and entry permits into the country, measures passed in parliament thanks to the external support of the People’s Party which from that moment was maintained for the entire legislature. The electoral loss of 2001 caused conflicts and crises within the defeated parties: Socialdemokratiet the leader PN Rasmussen resigned to be replaced, in November 2002, by M. Lykketoft, while the Christian People’s Party (Kristeligt Folkeparti), under the pressure of the youth movement, started a process of renewal that led to the hiring of a new name (Christian Democrats, Kristendemokraterne) and the appointment of a new president, M. Karlmose Nielsen (who would later resign in 2005). Meanwhile, serious international tensions fueled an increasingly xenophobic public opinion in the country. In the early elections of February 2005 the electorate rewarded the line held by the government towards the entry of non-European workers into the country by increasing the consensus towards the two most radical parties of the coalition: while the liberals, in fact, recorded a loss, going from 56 to 52 seats, the conservatives and popular ones rose to 18 and 24 seats respectively. The political radicalization was also reflected in the serious electoral loss of the Social Democrats, who dropped to 47 seats. On the international level, in 1999 the Denmark participated, as a NATO member country, in the war in Yugoslavia (March-June), and in 2003 despite the deep rifts in public opinion, parliament voted to participate in the US-led invasion of Irāq. Following the fall of the Ṣaddām Ḥusayn regime, Denmark kept her troops in the country, arousing strong internal opposition which also manifested itself, in 2005, in the significant electoral growth, from 9 to 17 seats, of the Radical Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre), which had opposed the government choice since the intervention in 2003.