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Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2014-12-05 10:39:35
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Denmark has fewer 'ghettos' this year

The latest list of marginalised and troubled neighbourhoods – also known as the 'ghetto list' – has revealed that the number of ghettos in Denmark has fallen from 33 to 31 compared to last year. The list showed that while Denmark has five new marginalised areas compared to last year, seven areas have been dropped from last year's list.

”It's really good news,” Carsten Hansen, the minister of housing, urban and rural affairs, said in a press release. ”The government has made massive efforts to create good housing, security and community in the marginalised areas, and these efforts now look like they're paying off.” To end up on the list, vulnerable areas need at least 1,000 citizens and to fulfil five politically-defined criteria in the areas of education, income, unemployment, the proportion of convicted criminals, and the proportion of immigrants and descendants of immigrants from non-western countries.

The Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs revealed that the improvement compared to last year was largely down to fewer criminals. Some 68,000 people live in Denmark's 31 marginalised areas on the 'ghetto list'. ”Even the smallest improvement in the number of citizens who are employed makes a difference, especially for the young people, so we will continue to focus on internships when we renovate the residential areas," Hansen said.


Denmark says bank breakups make no sense after bail-ins

Denmark said it will fight plans in the European Union to split banks deemed too big to fail, arguing existing resolution rules make such a proposal moot. After becoming the first EU country to force bank bondholders to share losses, Denmark is now lobbying the European Commission to ensure it doesn’t pile more rules onto the bank industry.

“We want some flexibility,” Business Minister Henrik Sass Larsen said yesterday in an interview in Copenhagen. “We don’t need to medicate the patient threefold.” Denmark’s decision to test bail-in legislation in 2011 sent reverberations throughout its financial industry. Small lenders were shut out of funding markets while the country’s biggest banks suffered ratings downgrades. Since then, the industry has grown less reliant on capital markets, the Danish Bankers’ Association said yesterday.

“There’s no reason to do big resolution plans, living wills and all kinds of things if you’re then told that there’s going to be something that reaches even further,” Larsen said. A proposal by Michel Barnier, the EU’s former financial services chief, to break up systemically important banks resurfaced earlier this year with local regulators trying to defend national interests. Splitting banks represents “a different path than the one we have taken and now it’s too late” for Denmark “to go down that road,” Larsen said.


Anger over bid to curb asylum for Eritreans

A new report from the Danish Immigration Service, which announced that Eritreans will no longer receive blanket asylum from Denmark, has come under attack from immigration experts and humans rights groups. Reactions came on Monday after the Danish Justice Ministry stated last week that Eritreans arriving in Denmark after "fleeing their home country’s authoritarian rule and compulsory military service will no longer be automatically granted asylum." Amnesty International spokesman Ole Hoff-Lund told the Anadolu Agency: “The report seems to be a stunning piece of deliberate politics, concluding one thing but containing the opposite. It concludes that the situation in Eritrea is now stable enough to abandon the automatic asylum right to citizens from Eritrea, but in the Appendix there is substantial evidence to the contrary." "Amnesty International finds the report completely absurd and fears for the safety of the 1,400 refugees who have already arrived in Denmark," he added.

In the report, titled "Eritrea – Drivers and Root Causes of Emigration, National Service and the Possibility of Return," was released on Nov. 14, 2014. The Immigration Service stated that international reports claiming that up to 10,000 people imprisoned in Eritrea were “difficult to harmonize with the reality on the ground.” Denmark received around 10 Eritrean refugees per month in the first quarter of 2014 but, in July, the monthly average rose to 514. This triggered a move from then Minister of Justice Karen Hækkerup to stop the automatic right to asylum and initiate a fact-finding mission to establish the realities of the current situation in the African country. The report from the Danish Immigration Service now concludes that the situation in Eritrea regarding national military service and illegal immigration was “not in itself persecution” and therefore did not automatically “grant a demand of protection.” But one of the report's contributors, Research Professor Gaim Kibreab, a Course Director of the Refugee Studies MSc program at London South Bank University in the UK, disputed the conclusions.

Kibreab told the Danish newspaper Politiken: “I feel betrayed and demand my name be taken off the report. They have basically ignored a lot of facts and hand-picked a few that fit the conclusion." He accused the Immigration Service of manipulating his data to an extent which contradicted the results of 10 years of his research. Kibreab added extensive corrections, which he forwarded to the Danish Immigration Service, after he saw a draft of the report, whose conclusion stated the opposite of his findings. David Bozzini, Visiting Research Fellow at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, and renowned Eritrea-expert, supported Kibreab's criticisms. He told the Anadolu Agency he found the report "shocking," adding: “I have read some of it and then I had to stop because of discrepancies. It is outrageous how the information in the report points to one conclusion, while the official conclusion is a totally different one.” “Everyone knows that it is not safe down there (in Eritrea). You can get arrested for nothing, just for giving the 'wrong' answer to the authorities, so it is a joke to talk about improvements in human rights,” Bozzini added.

Expressing his fears for the refugees waiting for their cases to be processed in Denmark, he said: “It is also common knowledge that the sort of information you get in Eritrea by asking the authorities should be looked upon very critically." The Danish Immigration Service had denied manipulating expert information. The service's vice director, Lykke Sørensen, told Danish newspaper Berlingske: “The report stands. It is based on credible sources within Eritrea, showing that some of our ideas about the situation in the country were not fully up-to-date.” Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told Danish news agency Ritzau on Monday, that she had no reason to criticize the report. “It is to be used by the Danish Refugee Appeals Board, and I have no reason to criticize it,” she said. Danish authorities have begun processing asylum applications for Eritrean refugees living in refugee camps and unused schools in Denmark.  


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