Political parties and EU experts have dominated the media this week, condemning the EU for its new immigration ruling. They also continue to point the finger at each other after it emerged that the government may have already known in 2004 about the EU’s influence over Danish immigration policy.
Danish immigration policy was thrown into upheaval last Friday following a ruling from the European Court of Justice that allows family members of an EU citizen to move to a member state, regardless of whether they have previously been granted residence in the EU.
Many Danish politicians, including Birthe Rønn Hornbech, the integration minister, have blasted the ruling and want to bring the matter before the European Council of Ministers.
However, Poul Runge Nielsen, head of the legal affairs unit at the European Parliament, told TV2 news the Danish government had already known back in 2004 the EU would influence Danish immigration policy.
A European Court of Justice ruling in September 2003 gave Denmark the right to require that a non-EU citizen first had to have legal EU residency before being able to come to Denmark under a family reunification scheme.
However, Nielsen said a related EU directive was issued soon after, and passed by the Danish government, which also guaranteed the rights of citizens from developing countries who were married to EU citizens.
‘There are very clear rules that one also has to acknowledge the rights of citizens from developing countries. This is not something that this new ruling has uncovered. It is in the directive.’