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Uffe Østergaard. Wikipedia

Danish professor wants to build wall around Europe

Danish history professor Uffe Østergaard (74) wants to build a wall around Europe to stop immigration since integration has failed.

Published: July 11, 2019, 9:53 am

    Copenhagen

    “After World War II, there was a strong belief that the Nordic welfare state model was so robust and attractive that it could integrate all ‘strangers’”, Uffe Østergaard pointed out in an opinion piece in a Danish daily Politiken.

    The EU should construct a border wall with “wire fences in four lanes, floodlights and watchtowers” to protect Europe’s borders. Bay failing to do so, Østergaard argues, there will be a split between Eastern, Western and Southern Europe soon over contradictory views on the management of immigration, particularly the regarding welfare variety.

    “Protecting borders is necessary, otherwise the population will rebel against the government”, professor Østergaard noted. He added that politicians should admit that integration has failed.

    He said he had also shared this notion of integrating foreigners previously but now, after deep thought, he has turned away from multiculturalism. Assimilation of immigrants is better than integration, he believes, and added that “Lutheran virtues” prevalent in Danish society should be adopted by all.

    “Ghettos are a good example of parallel societies that arise. The integration has not failed for everyone, but for relatively speaking for many,” according to Østergaard.

    Østergaard is a Danish historian specialising in European identity history. He was appointed as Jean Monnet professor of European civilisation and integration at Aarhus University and is professor of European and Danish history at Copenhagen Business School.

    He has also served a the head of the department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

    Østergaard’s primary focus has been multicultural and multiethnic states, including Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire and has an extensive authorship. He has also contributed to introducing counterfactual history in Denmark.

    Between 2008 and 2017, the 28 EU countries received over 5 million asylum requests, mostly from Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and Africa.

    Some 800 000 immigrants – over 13 percent – live in Denmark, a country with a population of 5,8 million. At least 500 000 of them are non-Western immigrants, according to Statistics Denmark.

    But Kaare Dybvad, Minister for Transport, Building and Housing in the new Social Democrat government, instead wants to get rid of the word “ghetto” for Muslim areas because it is “derogatory”.

    On its own website, the Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing uses the word for underprivileged areas. The word was used by ex-Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen during in his New Year’s address to the nation, to “end ghettos completely”.

    A “ghetto” according to the ministry, must have over a thousand inhabitants and fulfil three out of five criteria related to unemployment, the number of non-Westerners, crime rates, education levels and income.

    The government actually used the word a total of 26 times in bill changing subsidized housing laws which was passed by parliament on November 22nd last year, Politiken underscored.

    In fact, the bill was called the “ghetto plan”.

    In an interview with the same newspaper Politiken, Dybvad argued however that it was “no use continuing to use derogatory terms about underprivileged residential areas”.

    The Social Democrats voted in favour of the plan but is is unlikely to solve problems faced by underprivileged areas. Dybvad said on Tuesday that he wants to avoid stigmatizing such areas.

    “Instead I’ll refer to the neighbourhoods as ‘underprivileged residential areas’ [udsatte boligområder]”.

    “Otherwise, you think of the television series ‘The Wire’, with areas in Baltimore or Chicago which are rundown and have violent gang crime, where nobody who grew up there has a chance, and where people shoot each other for nothing,” he told Politiken.

    “It is of no benefit to keep using such derogatory terms. At some point you have to move on,” he added.

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