With Venstre on board, dual citizenship looks likely

Nation’s largest political party says Danes and expats should no longer have to choose between countries

May 21st, 2013 10:31 am| by admin

Support for easing citizenship rules for both Danes living abroad and expats living in Denmark is growing. Opposition party Venstre, which has long been divided on the issue, now seems poised to be ready to allow dual citizenship.

“It is a journey we have been on,” Venstre's citizenship spokesperson Jan E Jørgensen told DR News.

Venstre’s earlier lack of support for dual citizenship came into sharp focus when the party's former leader, and Denmark's former PM, Anders Fogh Rasmussen's son Henrik had to give up his Danish citizenship in 2010 in order to become an American citizen.

Although the government is not ready to introduce a change in the law, Venstre joins government coalition parties Socialdemokraterne, Radikale and Socialistisk Folkeparti in supporting dual nationality. Venstre’s support creates a consensus, virtually guaranteeing that dual nationality legislation will be passed when it comes up for a vote, possibly as early as this coming autumn. A work group is currently examining the legal ramifications of changing the law.

“Citizenship is regulated by the Danish constitution, so it is necessary to clarify how a law change will impact both those conditions and Denmark’s international obligations,” the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), told DR News.

Currently, 20 out of the 27 EU countries allow either full or partial dual citizenship.

Margrethe Vestager, the economy minister and the leader of the Radikale party, which has been one of parliament’s strongest voices in favour of dual citizenship, has called it “a gift” that foreigners would be allowed to retain their original citizenship and be afforded “full access to the country [Denmark] they will contribute to and where their children would grow up”. 

Danes living around the world welcomed the prospect of being able to get dual citizenship.

“It is incredibly important for Danes living abroad to be able to integrate where they live,” Anne Marie Dalgaard, the spokesperson for Danes Worldwide, told DR News.

Dalgaard said that having dual citizenship was about more than just an extra passport.

“Citizenship is such an important part of one's identity that forcing someone to choose is the same as forcing a child to choose between their mother or father or a mother to choose between her children,” she said.

Dalgaard said that allowing Danes to come back home as citizens with the knowledge and networks they have developed abroad would benefit Danish businesses and the country as a whole, but that it was equally important to make those who wished to acquire Danish nationality feel welcomed.

“It is important to accept newcomers and welcome them in the same way we allow our nationals to integrate in other countries,” Dalgaard said.

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