Tag Archives: Denmark

The Vikings Really Got Around, Spread Their Seeds Far and Wide

Teaching History's Slender Threads, Including 'What Ifs', Almosts, Alternatives and Turning Points

The period from the 750s to the 1100s is generally known as the Viking era in Scandinavian history. If you have Scandinavian in your DNA, it is probably from this period when the Vikings were exploring, conquering and mating with the maidens of Northern Europe. The Vikings originated in Denmark, spread into what is now Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Northern Scotland and the Hebrides islands, Northern Ireland, Northern Europe, particularly Normandy (now France), over to Kiev, along the Dneiper River in what is now Ukraine, founding the Rus, and even way over to North America — what is now part of Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and New Brunswick. In short, the Vikings really got around, spread their seeds far and wide. They were also great traders, and looking for a higher standard of living.

They were part of the Age of Exploration…

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How Did Scandinavia Become Christian?What If It United?

Teaching History's Slender Threads, Including 'What Ifs', Almosts, Alternatives and Turning Points

The Infographics Show: “What exactly is Scandinavia? The countries of Scandinavia are Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. We might also refer to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or Fennoscandia, which also comprises Finland and parts of Russia. Moreover, we talk about Nordic countries, and these include Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands. But today we are talking about three countries alone, and they are Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The countries have similar customs and cultures, and the languages are not far apart. The EU tells us the citizens of all these countries will likely be able to read each other’s language, although Swedes and Norwegians can have trouble understanding spoken Danish, even though the Danish and Norwegian languages are the most similar. Now, let’s look at what would happen if those countries finally came together, in this episode of the Infographics Show, What if Scandinavia United?

For those of us of at least…

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Why Does Denmark Own Greenland?

Teaching History's Slender Threads, Including 'What Ifs', Almosts, Alternatives and Turning Points

History Matters: “Greenland is massive. Denmark is not. Given its size, it’s strategic position and its distance from Denmark? How does Denmark own it and why didn’t anybody take it from them? If you want to find out watch this short and simple animated history documentary.”

The comments section is also informative:

  1. “Britain shelled Copenhagen, finally teaching the Danes how it feels to have a bunch of angry ships turn up at your shore and set things on fire” God I love this channel.
  2. “America in 19th century: ‘Can we buy Greenland?’ Denmark ‘No’. America in 1905 “Can we buy Greenland?” Denmark “No” America in 1945 “Can we buy Greenland?” Denmark “NO.” America in 2019 “Can we buy Greenland?” Denmark “NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”
  3. “Napoleon is in every European story.”
  4. 1:18 this is incorrect. The shelling of Copenhagen happened before Denmark joined Napoleon. Denmark was neutral, but the king of the…

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State capitalism and climate emergency

A continued look at {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

Continuation of

Capitalism and relevance to climate change

Capitalism and The environmental record of the communist world

In his article “Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it” Gezwin Stanley confirms that the climate emergency couldn’t have happened without fossil fuel driven industrialisation. But there is more:

human technology plus the very human inclination towards short termism tends to result in environmental degradation. It isn’t just capitalism that caused the climate crisis. But it is clear that capitalism, or rather the different varieties of capitalism, meaning any system where the few both control and benefit from the engines of wealth creation, the very same productive forces that can damage the environment, while also being best able to use their position to shield themselves against any environmental side effects, did and will dramatically exacerbate environmental damage. And, comparing state capitalism with private capitalism, it isn’t markets or consumerism that appeared to make the difference: the West had those in abundance, but the Communist world did not, and the outcomes were similar: critical environmental crises. The implication is that mass-scale industrial technology, combined with the control of that economy by a few who are compelled to strive for growth at all costs and to disregard, even deliberately hide, all externalities, is sufficient to cause environmental collapse, even if consumerism and insufficiently democratically regulated markets really don’t help. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

We must remember that important pressures contributing to current and future ecological collapse include habitat loss, habitat degradation, and habitat fragmentation, monocultures, overgrazing, overexploitation of ecosystems by humans, human industrial growth and overpopulation. The Soviet Union sinned against the respectful use of the earth by the practice of growing the same crop each year on a given acreage. The Soviet government found out, to its shame, that their large-scale plan of mass production or to produce huge quantities of cereals, vegetables and fruit, impoverished the country and did not produce good harvests. This because nonlegume crops usually exhaust the nitrogen in the soil, with a resulting reduction in yields. When they wanted to make the fertility level of the soil higher, they introduced fertilisers that poisoned the soil. The idea of greater flexibility in planning the system to meet year to year changes in the need for various crops, failed dramatically with food shortages and starvation as a result.

That environmental damage will be even more extreme if the masters of the economy, under private or state capitalism, are actively competing with each other whether for profit or to hit targets mandated by some dictator’s latest five year plan. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

writes Gezwin Stanley, admitting that

 the vital experiment, of a technologically advanced society that combines political and economic democracy, hasn’t as yet really been tried, perhaps because it is so offensive to the powerful and power-hungry.

Would such a society be able to better balance environmental and economic concerns? It certainly seems likely in theory, but in practice all we have to go on are smaller scale examples, often embattled and created despite huge challenges, such as the Zapatistas in Mexico or Rojava in Kurdistan. While environmentalism is a core thread of the ideology of both these movements (see for example: “What the Zapatistas can teach us about the climate crisis” or “Rojava is trying to build a green society”), how that would play out in the long term, in more stable conditions and at scale, has still to be determined. Though social democracy may be precarious, because the super-rich often buy politicians, parties and media influence, the historically more thorough-going social democracies may offer a clue as to what would be possible environmentally if economic control was more democratic, with (again according to the World Bank figures here: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC) per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 for Denmark being 5.8 tonnes, for Norway 7.0 tonnes and for Sweden 3.5 tonnes, compared to the USA at 15.2 tonnes, though the Nordic countries are at a similar level of technological advancement and average prosperity and overall have a colder climate. The same figure for the Russian Federation is 11.2 tonnes per capita and for considerably poorer China 7.4 tonnes. It may also be worth contrasting how Scandinavia confronted the problem of acid rain from the 1970s with how the former Soviet Union attempted to “bury” its multiple environmental crises. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

For him, it is no wonder that the state-capitalist communist countries of the past or the present were the cause of environmental calamities.

There have been more human generated greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 than in the rest of history (see this excerpt from “The Uninhabitable Earth”, published in 2019). Nor should we ever forget the whole corporate funded global disinformation campaign of climate change denial , and now “greenwashing”. For example, Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, but it funded climate change denial for 27 more years. None of this is surprising as the richest have an incentive to care least about climate change, because they can most easily escape its effects, from basing themselves in less affected countries, through being able to afford air conditioning, coastal defences and other protections to participating in the growing market for elite bunkers and safe havens (see “‘Billionaire bunkers’ that could shelter the superrich during an apocalypse”).

COP15 Logo.svgIf the economies of at least the most technologically advanced and richest nations had been run along lines of distributed economic power, of economic democracy as described here: https://gezwinstanley.wordpress.com/what-is-economic-justice-and-how-can-we-create-it/ , then there would most likely still have been a climate crisis. We are not angels. But without hugely powerful billionaires willing to conspire to deny climate change, and able to rig the political debate in many countries such as the USA, we would have acted a decade or two, possibly three, sooner. For example, the climate change deniers’ “Climategate” conspiracy in 2009 sabotaged the Copenhagen COP15 Conference and alone may have set back progress a decade, while none of the conspirators or those enlisted to help with the subsequent public relations have ever been brought to book. All that lost time could prove to have been crucial.

To resolve this conflict of interest we need to place everyone in control of the things they need to live and make a living. Then no one can disproportionately reap the economic benefits while disproportionately avoiding the environmental costs. That ensures everyone has an incentive to co-operate to create environmental regulations, pricing, taxes and subsidies, that avoid collective catastrophe, because no one can rig the deadly serious economic “game” of balancing economic output against environmental costs by largely reaping the economic benefits while passing most of the environmental impact onto someone else. {Why capitalism massively intensified the climate crisis, and why only collective action can solve it}

 

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So-called own sacred values under threat

The last few years we have seen populist politicians becoming more popular and getting a stronger following who wanted to cause a fuss here and there. Often they want to have their people believe their nation was great but got damaged by the many immigrants. They say the immigrant population weakens the country and brings democracy in danger.

On the other side there is also a contemporary myth that European societies used to be homogenous. Europe has always been a blanket of a lot of diversity. Always it has been a mixture of all sorts of people and cultures. Throughout the ages we could find a battlefield in the Low Countries. Lots of pieces of land changed hands many times, once belonging to the Romans, than to the Germans, the Austrians, the French, the Dutch. Even the languages and religion changed more than once.

Threat to the security and stability of the nation

Today we can find lots of people who say the land belongs to them and others bring their Judaeo-Christian values in danger. Though many of those crying about their values, do not have any of such juedo christian values at all. The 2016 Islamist fundamentalist attacks showed clearly how far countries as France wanted to go putting liberty of thought, freedom of expression and clothing at the side. France and Belgium so secularised took measures which went totally against real democratic rules and humanitarian freedom.

Big problem in Europe today is that lots of people do not worship God any more and do not keep to the essential commandments of God and as such do not mind not telling the truth, not loving the other, not taking care of others their goods or of nature, they even enjoy being better than the other wanting to have more than they have. For many, hatred and envy are the order of the day. We notice that hatred under Christians is nothing new any more. In the previously Chrisitan countries, we also come to see more hatred against religions in general, many thinking religion is the cause of all the problems. In West Europe we find many that much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism have become No God Zones.

The last few years we also could see that several countries did not mind to take up again very discriminatory laws.  We could see that even in the so-called most free country of Europe: France; and also in the so-called most progressive liberal country Denmark where they even went so far to go for Nazi-laws.

Too many people do forget our world evolved to a world where lots of people go from one place to another and influence each other. There are already many influencers on the net who cross many country borders and bring people to change their normal and consumption habits, plus eating and clothing customs.

Best examples which show how it is going wrong at the moment, are the United States of America, Brazil, Hungary and Hong Kong. The States takes the cake by having a president who goes in against everything the founders of that State stood for. That country was built on the aspiring hopes of people who came from all sorts of countries, all sorts of cultures and different religious denominations. The land is created or grown by a mixture of peoples. In the few years the 45th president of the U.S.A. ruled he managed to destroy a lot what was build up in the previous decades and created a lot of division between the inhabitants of those states which should be unified.

Instead of all trying to come to one unified Europe we do find more and more people going against the tendency for unification. Several politicians want to create such hammock in the country people get fed up with politics and start wanting to do their own thing in the way they want to do it.

A few years ago there was the beginning of fear created by Islamist fundamentalists. Now an other fear was added. This time it is not the clash between Islam and the West, but the power of a virus, which destroys our free way of life as well. Religious conflict was the norm in the old so-called homogenous Europe. Often the Roman Catholics were the killers to be afraid of. They had a terror regime that forced everyone to Catholicism. The people having most to fear then were the ones who worshipped the Only One True God and not Christ. Many brethren and sisters in the faith had to hide their faith or even had to hide in less easy to reach regions.

The English philosopher John Locke put it, ‘to a foreign prince’, the Pope, whose values were incompatible with those of liberal democracies, and who posed a threat to the security and stability of the nation.

At one point in European history we have two centuries where Jews were seen even more of a threat to European identity, values and ways of being, so much so that they became victims of the world’s greatest genocide. Today many forget that the treatment of Jews as the ‘Other’ was not confined to Germany. It was a central theme in most European nations, from the Dreyfus affair in France to Britain’s first immigration law, the 1905 Aliens Act, designed principally to stem the flow into the country of European Jews. And up in the North lots of Jews got burned in their homes by Russian attacks against them.

In all cases we see that governments and people want to find a victim, someone or some people to point with the finger, to cast them as the cause of all misery.

In the previous centuries high society also looked downwards to the working class. The working class and the rural poor were seen by many as racial distinct.
The French aristocratic anti-egalitarian diplomat, writer, ethnologist, and social thinker Arthur de Gobineau, in his Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines, 4 vol. (1853–55; Essay on the Inequality of Human Races), remarked already that

‘Every social order represents a racial variety’.

Joseph-Arthur, comte de Gobineau.

Arthur de Gobineau, French diplomat, writer, ethnologist, and social thinker whose theory of racial determinism had an enormous influence upon the subsequent development of racist theories and practices in western Europe.

In the Essai Gobineau asserted the superiority of the white race over others and labeled the “Aryans”—i.e., the Germanic peoples—as representing the summit of civilization. That idea is not killed yet. Also today in Europe as well as in the United States we do find people who cling to that idea, that the fate of civilizations is determined by racial composition, that white and in particular Aryan societies flourish as long as they remain free of black, brown and yellow strains, and that the more a civilization’s racial character is diluted through miscegenation, the more likely it is to lose its vitality and creativity and sink into corruption and immorality.Donald Trump does find this enough reason to make sure everyone comes to understand that, and that it are the white federal troops which are the ones who can and should have everything in control.

Gobineau insisted that

‘We imagine that we are one nation, but we are two nations on the same land’,

each a distinctive race with

‘perpetually contradictory spirits’.

The Christian socialist Phillipe Buchez, giving a talk to the Medico-Psychological Society of Paris in 1857, wondered how it could happen that

 ‘within a population such as ours, races may form – not merely one but several races – so miserable, inferior and bastardised that they may be classed below the most inferior savage races, for their inferiority is sometimes beyond cure.’

The races that he was talking of were not, of course, from Africa or Asia, but the working class and the rural poor. In this century some reflect similar words now also referring to those who work on the fields (seasonal workers) and those who do the jobs the ‘nationals’ do not want to do.

Gobineau’s writings were quickly praised by white supremacist, pro-slavery Americans like surgeon, anthropologis and slaveowner Josiah C. Nott and the Swiss American propagandist for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, Henry Hotze, who translated his book into English. They omitted around 1,000 pages of the original book, including those parts that negatively described Americans as a racially mixed population.

In the 19th century in many countries, the poor were

‘a race of whom we know nothing, whose lives are of quite different complexion from ours, persons with whom we have no point of contact.’

explained an article on working-class life in East London in The Saturday Review, a well-read liberal magazine of the era.

‘Distinctions and separations, like those of English classes’,

the article concluded,

‘which always endure, which last from the cradle to the grave, which prevent anything like association or companionship… offer a very fair parallel to the separation of the slaves from the whites.’

Just before the pandemic struck our regions there were already enough signs we were evolving back to a segregation position of modern slaves, the working class.

With the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will have to be very careful that politicians and CEOs do not take advantage of this situation in order to corner the workers and exploit them even more because of the emerging economic crisis.

In the States, we see already how the president got so many people to believe that we should ignore this virus or Chinese disease and should all go back at work making our economy great again. For him, the economy comes first. Human lives are not so important and when they are black or brown they are even less important. For him as for some in Europe as well there should not be Corona restrictions, because they go against our liberty. All such matters to protect the health of people undermine the economy and therefore (according to them) should be annulled. Inc ase there are people dying from Covid-19 they should be considered as just ‘accidents de parcours’.

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Preceding

Tribes Redux

Trans-ability and Identity and Political correctness

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

Denmark votes in favour for a Discriminatory Nazi law

American Christians have to think twice before going to vote

Tolerance Ends When There Is No Tolerance Shown Towards Us

Francis Fukuyama and ‘The End of History?’

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Additional reading

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  2. Disturbing language inbalance
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  4. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  5. Subcutaneous power for humanity 2 1950-2010 Post war generations
  6. 2014 Religion
  7. Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
  8. 2016 in review Politics #1 Year of dissonance
  9. Negative views of immigrants, Muslims and Jews
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  11. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  12. President Trump shall have to recognise that Immigrant Workers Are Vital to the U.S.A.
  13. Secularism in France becoming dangerous for freedom of religion
  14. Christians, secularism, morals and values
  15. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #2
  16. Need to Embrace People Where They Are
  17. 500 Years of Reformation Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency
  18. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  19. What Steve Bannon really wants
  20. Is Europe going to become a dictatorial bastion
  21. Challenges of the Post-Pandemic period

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Symbolic move to scare people away

Because Denmark found it had to need tighter immigration rules Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesman for the populist DPP, used the debate to call for an extension of the border controls that have currently been introduced on a temporary basis.

Copy of “the Independent” cartoon in the article about Human rights groups who also objected to measures delaying family reunifications (2016 January 27)

Do we have to say “After more than ” or “it took only” three hours of debate to have the minority Liberal Party government’s bill adopted by 81 votes to 27, with the support of the opposition Social Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP)? One politician abstained and 70 others were absent.

This shows clearly how the majority of Denmark is feeling about people in need coming to safer places, like Denmark and Germany.

Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, of the opposition left Red-Green Alliance, argued that the measures taken are

a symbolic move to scare people away.

The United Nations warned the measures would “fuel fear and xenophobia” but Danish politicians claimed they were

“about creating equality between migrants and Danes”.

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The tough measures such as confiscating refugees’ valuables to pay for their stay and delaying family reunification to three years, are not worthy for a free democratic state.

Denmark’s prime minister has warned that the 1951 United Nations treaty governing the rights of refugees might need updating. After Sweden imposed identity checks for travellers coming from Denmark, Denmark did the same along its border with Germany. Hungary had already built a razor-wire fence along its border with Croatia. {NYT}

Denmark and all the other European countries can and should take other measures to avoid the influx of refugees to the more wealthy countries of Europe. Last year, a record 21,300 refugees entered Denmark, one of the highest rates per capita in the EU, but Germany has to face more entrants and public opinion is also under pressure in that country.

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote to Denmark’s immigration minister to oppose the property seizures.

“I believe that such a measure could amount to an infringement of the human dignity of the persons concerned,”

he said.

The family reunification delays have also been heavily criticised, with Denmark being accused of violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Jonas Christoffersen, the director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera:

“The right of refugees to be reunited with their family is protected by numerous international conventions ratified by Denmark. We believe the government is overstepping international law by implementing this bill.”

Liberal and left-wing EU parliamentarians criticised the proposed bill and took aim at a new provision in Danish law that would delay family reunification for up to three years for people in need of temporary protection.

“This law … goes completely in the wrong direction,”

Cornelia Ernst, a far-left German politician, said on Monday.

Amnesty International said the country had started a “race to the bottom” as support for refugees continues to wane across Europe.

“To prolong the suffering of vulnerable people who have been ripped apart from their families by conflict or persecution is plain wrong,”

John Dalhuisen, its Europe and Central Asia Director said.

“This is a sad reflection of how far Denmark has strayed from its historic support of international norms enshrined in the Refugee Convention.

“European states must stop this dismal race to the bottom and begin to meet their international obligations, by upholding refugees’ human rights and dignity. Anything less is a betrayal of our common humanity.”

Liberal Party spokesman Jakob Ellemann-Jensen defended their proposition by telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last month:

“All Danish citizens and refugees coming here receive universal health care; you receive education from preschool to university, and you receive elderly care; you receive language training and integration training free of charge, paid for by the government.”

The only demand that we set to measure this is if you have the means to pay for your housing and for your food — regardless of whether you are a Dane or whether you are a refugee — then you should.”

Similar laws exist in Switzerland and Germany, according to officials there. Dozens of cases were reported in Switzerland of migrants’ assets being confiscated to fund their living expenses, although in Germany it was unclear if, or how widely, the policy was enforced.

According to CNN many in socially liberal Denmark say they are appalled by the law, which the U.N. Refugee Agency has called

“an affront to (refugees’) dignity and an arbitrary interference with their right to privacy.”

Wiebke Keson, a 72-year-old Danish refugee center volunteer, said she was “shocked” by the notion of confiscating jewelry.

“Since I’m German, I was immediately thinking about our own history,”

she said, voicing a common criticism that the policy echoes Nazi confiscations of Jewish valuables.

The refugee camp in Thisted (Photo the Telegraph)

A Syrian family was stopped by the police at Padborg Station in Denmark, near the German border, en route to Sweden last year. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

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Please do find to read:

A stain of shame for the European Union

Denmark votes in favour for a Discriminatory Nazi law

Denmark approves controversial refugee bill allowing police to seize asylum seekers’ cash and valuables

Danish MPs approve seizing valuables from refugees

Denmark adopts controversial law to seize asylum seekers’ valuables

Denmark approves law on seizing refugees’ valuables and delaying family reunions

Danish Law Requires Asylum Seekers to Hand Over Valuables

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Denmark votes in favour for a Discriminatory Nazi law

On Tuesday the 26th of January 2016 it was good to see and hear that there was someone from a tiny country who dared to raise his voice against an outrageous and discriminatory Nazi law of which the Danes and some other East European countries would hope keep away other asylum seekers.

In 2008 Denmark had barely immigrants from the ‘other’ category, under which granted asylum requests also fall. In 2009 it rose, to 7.6 immigrants per 10,000 residents. That was the same as in the Netherlands, but the country was more desired and achieved in 2010 more asylum seekers than the Netherlands. The “other” category counted for Denmark in 2010, 9.7 against 7.2 for the Netherlands.

Danish politician Lars Løkke Rasmussen. (This ...

Danish politician Lars Løkke Rasmussen. (This image is a cropped version of File:Dmitry Medvedev in Denmark 28 April 2010-12.jpeg). Attribution: http://www.kremlin.ru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen‘s center-right party Venstre presented his new cabinet in June 2015, it looked forward to a stricter policy to arrive mainly because the influx increased constantly.

On Tuesday, January 26th, it was the in December proposed plan toned down, that was accepted to be taken in a law.

The Danish government wants to make it clear that all rejected asylum seekers are immediately returned, but also wants to bring a dissuasion by taking the belongings of immigrants.

In Europe more and more Nazi ideology seems to get back coming up. By excluding certain groups of people travelling between the communities it creates a dangerous distinction. If one were to ask money to people to be allowed to settle in the country one could still accept it. But to just take the belongings from only one population group, refugees, is just unacceptable.

Following similar moves in Switzerland and southern Germany, Denmark’s parliament voted on Tuesday to allow police to search asylum-seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 Danish kroner (about €1,300) that have no sentimental value to their owner. Who will also determine the handling of emotional value which may be retained and which are pricey to be saved? In any case, it also creates the possibility for the police force to hold back (steal) goods from those who are trying to enter the country and to have the confiscated goods disappearing in their own pocket.

The centre-right Danish government says the procedure is to cover the cost of each asylum-seeker’s treatment by the state, and mimics treatment of Danish citizens on welfare benefits.

The UN has nevertheless called the move concerning and regrettable, while an opposition party termed it “morally horrible”. This new legislation is ethically unsound and unworthy for a Union which want to carry the words democracy and freedom in its emblems. In the European Union all states should join hands to take care that human rights standards are kept high.

May we expect such a ague or getting the creeps by those in power in the European Union that measures will be taken to protect the right of those who are fleeing war and horror?

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Find also: A stain of shame for the European Union

A Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Denemarken zwicht onder druk van anti asielzoekers

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