According to my Danish contacts, the issue of the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling about Ireland, and its implications for the Danes, has caused a tremendous uproar in Denmark. The political elites who run the show might have been willing to roll over for the ECJ — business as usual — and surrender Danish sovereignty, but a strong popular resistance has arisen.
Ralf Pittelkow, a former Socialist, is the co-author (with Karen Jespersen) of Islamists and Naivists, and also a weekly columnist for Jyllands-Posten. Last year I quoted this about him from The International Herald Tribune):
Pittelkow says that Denmark’s cherished openness is under attack by Islamists due to a clash of values epitomized by the cartoons. He argues that Islamic radicalism nearly triumphed during the crisis because many editors and political figures in Denmark and elsewhere accepted Islamic arguments that publishing the caricatures was an affront to Islam, turning their backs on free speech.
As you might know, this problem has made quite an impact in Denmark, and the rifts among the Danes are now being made quite clear. There are those who insist on national self-determination and Danish democracy regardless of the matter, and those who are wishy-washy and follow either the Danish government when expedient for their cause, or the EU when expedient for their cause (a small but sizable fraction of Social Democrats and left-wingers), and lastly those who want unconditional surrender of Danish sovereignty to EU, UN, and whoever else wants it, except the Danes.
Fortunately the first group seems to be in the majority, and with this case their numbers are increasing. And for the first time in a long time there are even voices in the MSM that call for leaving the EU, which is probably not likely at the moment, but just a couple of months ago it would have been unheard of.
So no matter where this situation ends, people are starting to have their eyes opened to the problem that membership of EU constitutes, and the dwindling benefits of the same.
And now for Zonka’s translation of the editorial:
Pittelkow on the Net: The Government’s Answer to the EU
by Ralf Pittelkow, political commentator
The government must make it clear to everyone else that if the Danish problem isn’t solved, it will become a problem for the whole EU.
The ECJ (European Court of Justice) has delivered verdicts that most likely will be devastating for Danish immigration policies. This happens without any kind of public mandate to bypass a central part of Danish politics. A clearly untenable situation.
The reaction from the government and parliament in Denmark must follow two paths:
One concerns a change in the strong political role of the ECJ; this is a long-term project.
An urgent matter
The other path is to ensure that Danish immigration policy is preserved. This is an urgent matter.
It is nothing new for the ECJ to make decisions that actively and deeply affect political matters. The novelty is that these days they have become much more controversial and damaging for the public trust in the EU.
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The EU citizens have become a lot less orthodox and at the same time they have become more eager to put limits on the EU’s power grab. This is because the common values among nation-states are still stronger than the EU.
People are concerned
When the French, the Dutch, and the Irish voted no to the new treaty-suggestions, it was in no small part because they were concerned about what they meant for the relationship between the EU and the member states.
The ECJ’s political role adds to the concerns, and to the serious crisis of public trust which it causes. The undermining of Danish immigration policy is a glaring example.
The solution must start with the EU politicians making decisions that are more precise and thus give less leeway for the court’s interpretations. But at the same time strong signals must be sent that the judges should be considerably more reluctant in their politicizing.
This debate ought to have been raised in conjunction with the Lisbon Treaty, which didn’t happen. To which there is nothing else to say but than that it must be raised anyway.
But the solution to the current Danish problem cannot wait until this process gets started.
Immigration-policy is crucial
The starting point for Denmark must be to seek a solution together with the other countries. The EU expert Ole Ryborg has mentioned the possibility that the EU directive that the ECJ verdict is based on could be made more precise, so that the negative effect on Danish immigration policy is avoided. Perhaps that is a way.
But no matter which way the problem is attacked, it is a political reality that cannot be avoided: the Danish government would never be able to accept the nullification of an immigration policy which is a vital part of its public mandate, one that the voters have given the politicians at the latest three general elections.
Denmark’s problem can become EU’s problem
The Danish government must thus signal flexibility on the road to a solution, but be unbending in the defense of immigration policy. It shouldn’t issue threats about ignoring the ECJ’s verdicts in this case. But it is great if the possibility is hanging in the air.
The EU has enough on its plate after the Irish no to the Lisbon Treaty. But if the Irish problem is now followed by a major conflict with Denmark about a policy that is lifeblood for the Danes, and is being met with considerable understanding in other countries, it will damage people’s opinion of the EU even further.
The government must make it clear to the others that if the Danish problem isn’t solved it will become a problem for the whole of the EU.
Hat tip: Henrik.