Yesterday at a press conference, the government announced its 12-point plan to fight terror. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Morten Østergaard, the minister for interior affairs, Mette Frederiksen, the justice minister, and Nicolai Wammen, the defence minister stood shoulder-to-shoulder to present what they described as “a strong defence against terror”.
But the proposals have not been met with universal approval. One of the controversial measures proposed is to give the military intelligence service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE) broad powers to monitor Danes suspected of taking part in conflicts overseas such as in Syria or Iraq, so-called ‘foreign fighters’.
Breach of jurisprudence
Berlingske reports that, while there is broad support for tackling the problem, the fact that the surveillance would take place without a court order is causing some to accuse the government of sacrificing the rule of law. Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, the former head of the police intelligence service Politiets Efterretningstjenste (PET) described the proposal as “a flagrant breach of the hallmark of Danish jurisprudence".
“Even though FR might have good reason to monitor people abroad, it’s still a fundamental principle that the suspicion needs to be justified in front of a judge,” he said.
Wammen justified the proposal on the basis of making the intelligence service more responsive to threats. “FE should be able to effectively and quickly intervene if terror is planned against Denmark,” he said.
The terror plan has also received mixed responses from the opposition parties at Christiansborg. Enhedslisten, Liberal Alliance and SF have expressed concerns about the erosion of the rule of law. Venstre supports the proposal.
The other proposed measures include extra funding for FE, PET and Police, and efforts to fight radicalisation in Denmark.