Government reveals plans as parliament opens new year
As is tradition in Denmark on the first Tuesday of October, the prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt ushered in the new parliamentary session with a speech revealing the government's plans for the coming year.
Among the highlights of the 164th parliamentary session opening were Denmark's fight against IS in the Middle East, the rising number of asylum-seekers, tighter border control and the EU opt-outs.
Thorning-Schmidt began by praising the Danish and international efforts in Iraq and Syria against the jihadist organisation IS – both from a military and a humanitarian perspective.
"We live in an uneasy time and we really have two options," Thorning-Schmidt said. "Either we help solve the crises in the world, or we hide and hope that we won't be affected. I have no doubts. We must act."
Asylum flood backlash
Security at home and in Europe was also on the agenda and the prime minister mentioned the government's support of sanctions against Russia, underlining the importance of stationing Danish troops in the Baltics.
The prime minister went on to reveal that the government would toughen up legislation involving family reunification thanks to the record number of asylum-seekers making their way to Denmark this year.
The border control will be enhanced in a bid to crack down on rising number of human trafficking cases and illegal immigrants that are moving across Danish borders.
Muslims to take responsibility
Thorning-Schmidt vowed that the government would crack down hard on Danes travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of IS.
"We will take their passports and their residence permits. We will do everything to make sure that the Syria fighters account for their crimes and do what we can to prevent radicalisation," Thorning-Schmidt said.
To this end, Thorning-Schmidt appealed to the Muslim community in Denmark to help radicalised people in their communities onto the right path. "All Danes must stand together against extremism," she said.
Other areas that the government intends to focus on is improving the health sector, spending billions extra on increased welfare, improved terms for volunteer work, better protection of the nation's natural habitat and better education.