The old adage “hoisted with his own petard” (or, in this case, his dad’s) took on a new meaning in a TV debate last night on TV2 between Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Socialdemokratiet leader Mette Frederiksen.
In response to a question from the audience, the PM confessed that a controversial law passed by his government had ramifications for his own family.
In 2002 a Venstre-led government passed the so-called 24-year rule, which is designed to prevent family reunification between Danes and foreign nationals if one of the parties is under the age of 24.
Applicable to marriages and registered partnerships, the law’s avowed intention was to prevent forced and pro-forma marriages in order to obtain Danish citizenship.
Equal under the law
Løkke admitted that his son Bergur’s American girlfriend, 22-year-old Aran Kirschenmann, would have to leave Denmark against her will due to the law.
“I have a son aged 29 in exactly the same situation as you – exactly,” Rasumussen said.
“He has a girlfriend who is a long way from being 24 years old who will finish her bachelor degree at Harvard University soon. She is in Denmark taking some courses and will have to leave at the end of the month because she can’t legally remain here. I think that is completely off – I really do. It is pretty strange that we live in a country where there is no place for her.”
Bergur himself is this weekend seeking election to the European Parliament as a candidate for Venstre.
More well-educated foreigners wanted
Rasmussen emphasised, however, that it is always a dilemma for any politician when it comes to making laws that apply to everybody, but in some cases they can have unintentional effects. After reiterating that he was fully behind the idea of a strict immigration policy and the 24-year rule, Rasmussen took a swipe at Frederiksen.
“What I can’t understand is how Socialdemokratiet together with Dansk Folkeparti have blocked us at every turn during this government’s term with something Danish business is crying out for: that is, clever foreign workers,” he said.