Party profile: Dansk Folkeparti
Recent polls have shown Dansk Folkeparti (DF) surging at the national level, and the party is hoping that momentum can carry over to the November 19 elections and earn DF one of the seven Copenhagen deputy mayoral positions that are up for grabs.
The Copenhagen Post sat down with DF’s lead candidate and current party head at the City Council, Carl Christian Ebbesen, to hear about his party’s ideas and vision for the city.
Integration a major component
Integration continues to be a major element of DF’s campaign strategy. The party wants to ensure that foreigners who come to live in Copenhagen are in a position to be integrated.
“We need to be sure that they learn the Danish language, that they are capable of getting an education and that they can get a job and provide for themselves,” Ebbesen said. “To do this, we need to ensure that the amount of people who come to Copenhagen and Denmark is an amount that we can handle.”
For Ebbesen and DF, one way to improve integration is to regulate the number of foreigners arriving on Danish shores in the first place.
“If just a few come, we could easily make sure that they receive a good education and learn the language, make sure their children go to schools and daycare institutions, and that they become a normal part of Danish society,” he said. “But if the amount is very large, then it becomes much more difficult.”
Ebbesen said that his party is very open to seeing a large number of highly-skilled workers make their way to Copenhagen.
“We need the highly-skilled workers because they can take care of themselves with their high salaries. They earn their own money, can improve the city and not be a burden,” he said.
No child left behind
Ebbesen said that integration is also a major issue in schools, and that a growing social imbalance at public schools is a growing problem for the city.
“If there isn’t a proper social mix in schools, then typically people with high incomes and resources move their kids to private schools or other schools elsewhere, which means that some schools are left with significant social problems,” he said.
Ebbesen said that children should be properly prepared for Danish schools before they begin.
“Today, we see children who start in first grade and don’t understand a word of Danish, so they end up being behind from day one,” he maintained.
Traffic and pollution
Reducing congestion and noise pollution is also high on the agenda, and DF says a better traffic flow would accomplish both goals.
“In some periods – like during rush-hour – traffic is heavy, but it’s not bad at other times” Ebbesen said. “We need to be capable of regulating the time for how long traffic lights are red and green.”
Ebbesen also said that bicycle parking should be moved into buildings or underground so that there is more room on the road for cars.
Improved golden years
Traditionally, DF has always supported elderly initiatives and that trend will continue, the city councillor said. He cited a need for more care providers.
“It’s the elderly who have built up this country and created the values that our country is based on. They should be served well,” Ebbesen said. “It’s very bad that elderly people need to wear diapers because we don’t have enough people to help them to the toilet. They deserve to be properly cared for and they’ve earned the right to be able to enjoy their golden years.”
DF was among the few parties that saw an increase in votes at the last local elections in 2009, and Ebbesen knows that only hard work will ensure that DF enjoys more success at the local level.
“We’ve had good poll results recently, but that could all change tomorrow. We need to make sure we continue to earn the voters’ trust. If things go well, we could get a deputy mayor in from DF.”
Factfile | Carl Ebbesen
Party: Dansk Folkeparti
Years on the City Council: 12
• Tougher immigration rules
• Better elderly care
• Reduced pollution in city
• Better traffic conditions
• More job creation
Next week: Party profiles of Liberal Alliance and Enhedslisten, plus a look at the lesser-known parties that are also vying for votes