Dansk Folkeparti takes control of culture and leisure in Copenhagen

DF has won control of the Culture and Leisure Administration and has promised to target integration programmes that give foreigners “preferential treatment”

For the first time ever, the anti-immigration party Dansk Folkeparti has won control of one of Copenhagen’s seven administrations.

DF’s mayoral candidate Carl Christian Ebbesen will become the city's deputy mayor of culture and leisure in the New Year – the highest position DF has ever secured in the City Council.

Ebbesen wanted to take control of the Integration and Employment Administration, but was unable to wrest control from Radikale's Anna Mee Allerslev.

“We didn’t manage to get that role, but I have managed to win an even better role in which there is more direct influence on the integration process,” Ebbesen told Politiken newspaper.

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Influence over integration
Ebbesen's new role will place him in charge of over 100 cultural and leisure institutions across the city and give him influence over a range of integration projects – all of which are now under threat.

“It’s a tradition that if you’re foreign, City Council will give you more money,” Ebbesen told Politiken. “But if we are to reinforce the message that we are all part of a community, it’s important that the rules and conditions are the same for everyone. This is why we cannot have preferential treatment.”

READ MORE: Party profile: Dansk Folkeparti

No more preferential treatment
Ebbesen pointed to sexually segregated swimming lessons in the district of Tingbjerg, which were introduced to encourage more girls from immigrant families to use the facilities.

“It’s not traditional for us to segregate swimming pools or close them to men, so I want to see what I can do to ensure real equal treatment," he said. "Dansk Folkeparti has never supported the thinking behind closing swimming pools to men because of some religious argument.”

“Religious minorities have to accept the values and premises that have made Denmark a free and equal society," he added. 'We should not compromise on this, which is why gender segregation should be addressed.”

Ebbesen has also argued to end mother-tongue teaching for children in favour of more Danish lessons, and advocates against renting out council-owned facilities to extreme religious groups, such as when radical Islamic group Hizb-ut-Tahrir rented the Royal Library in 2011 to hold a conference.