This Week’s Editorial: Tricky law followed by a piece of cake – The Post

This Week’s Editorial: Tricky law followed by a piece of cake

Boat with syrian refugees off the coast of Sicily. (Photo: Vito Manzari from Martina Franca)
February 5th, 2016 7:00 pm| by Ejvind Sandal

Integration is the name of the game. The refugees are here – or on their way. They are being accommodated in tents and could later move into empty palaces.

A silent majority
Not a day goes by without the media and politicians discussing their situation, but rarely to their benefit. A silent majority remains quiet so the necessary laws can be passed – normally for internal political reasons.

And the austerity measures have been adopted. The immigration minister, Inger Strøjberg, is happy and Denmark has earned itself more than a minute of infamy as the world press used cartoons of the PM to criticise the new law.

Ironically, the cartoon – coming almost exactly ten years to the day since a rather different stance was taken in defence of Jyllands-Posten – made many Danes call for an apology!!!

Long roads ahead
As we speak, nothing indicates that the numbers of refugees and migrants will live up to the wildest forecasts. There is even an armistice committee sitting in Geneva.

Meanwhile, 90 percent of the world’s military capacity is deploying 1 percent of its resources to fighting IS. At this rate, the end will come, but it could be a long time coming. Like Masada.

The road to integration, which is also a long one, continues to be hampered by misleading figures from the government. Annual costs of 14 billion kroner, they claim, even though a healthy proportion of that will end up in the country’s pockets – both private companies and the public purse.

And nobody really believes that only 3 percent of the refugees are immediately capable of undertaking a job. It has been speculated that the new arrivals could fill half of the vacant positions in the health sector.

Critical talks
The tri-party negotiations between the unions, workers and the government, which are due to start soon, will be the testing ground. Scrapping union working agreements that stipulate a minimum payment of 120 kroner an hour is essential if we want to find jobs for the refugees.

Only the stiffness of politicians and the unionists prevent such a solution, even it was just agreed on temporarily.

If we want a solution, it is time to be unconventional and look for the greater good. Do not listen to those who claim that refugees do not want to work – until now it is the Danish institutions preventing them.

It is time to merge humanitarian motives with pragmatic solutions. Make it a piece of cake.

Ejvind Sandal

Copenhagen Post editor-in-chief Ejvind Sandal has never been afraid to voice his opinion. In 1997 he was fired after a ten-year stint as the chief executive of Politiken for daring to suggest the newspaper merged with Jyllands-Posten. He then joined the J-P board in 2001, finally departing in 2003, the very year it merged with Politiken. He is also a former chairman of the football club Brøndby IF (2000-05) where he memorably refused to give Michael Laudrup a new contract prior to his hasty departure. A practising lawyer until 2014, Sandal is also the former chairman of Vestas Wind Systems and Axcel Industriinvestor. He has been the owner of the Copenhagen Post since 2000.