COUNTRYAAH, Denmark was shocked one weekend in February by
two terrorist acts in Copenhagen. On Saturday, a perpetrator
fired over 30 shots with automatic weapons at the
participants in a debate meeting in the cultural center Krudttønden. One man was killed and three police officers
were injured in the attack, which was believed to be
directed at the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who attended the
meeting but managed to recover.
On the night before Sunday, police officers guarding the
Jewish synagogue were shot in the district of Nørrebro,
where a bar mitzvah (celebration of Jewish boys becoming
men) was taking place. One of the ward's own guards met in
the head and died. The man who was guilty of both deaths was
shot dead later that night by police. It was a 22-year-old,
born in Denmark, who served a prison sentence for violent
crime and was reported to have approached a violent Islamist
ideology. Several assistants were arrested later.
The deed got a lot of attention in Europe. Prime Minister
Helle Thorning-Schmidt urged the nation to cohesion. She
spoke in Danish, English and French and thanked for the
support of the outside world when close to 40,000 people
gathered in Copenhagen to honor the victims of the attacks.
The government decided to give the security police
greatly increased resources to strengthen its ability to
monitor social media, discover preparations for terrorist
acts and scout Danes planning to join the Islamic State (IS)
In May, the head of the security and intelligence service
PET resigned after being criticized for police efforts
following the terrorist attacks. Among other things, it was
several hours after the first deed before the police came to
guard the synagogue where the next attack took place.
The Social Democrats were the largest in opinion polls
for the first time in four years, and Prime Minister
Thorning-Schmidt announced new elections until June 18.
However, the bourgeois bloc still led over the left bloc,
and bourgeois people opted for lower taxes and tight
immigration policies. The Social Democrats had also adapted
to demands for reduced immigration, but the large electoral
promise of the S-led government was a welfare package of DKK
39 billion, which for five years would go to care, school,
care and environmental adjustment.
The election became a scarce victory for the right-wing
party, where the Danish People's Party went strong and for
the first time became the largest bourgeois party with just
over 21% of the vote. Liberal Venstre returned to just over
19%. The Social Democrats increased slightly and retained
the seat as the largest party in the Folketing by just over
26%, but both Radical Venstre and the Socialist People's
Party halved. The left government lost power, a mandate was
taken. Helle Thorning-Schmidt resigned as prime minister and
as S leader, and Mette Frederiksen was appointed new party
Left leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen was commissioned to form
a new government. Attempts to get with the Danish People's
Party (DF) fell on DF's no to tax cuts for high-income
earners. Løkke Rasmussen then formed a pure Left government
with the support of the Danish People's Party, Liberal
Alliance and Conservatives, a total of 90 of the Folketing's
The new government tightened immigration policy. Support
for asylum seekers was lowered and demands for Danish
citizenship were increased. In September, a growing influx
of refugees reached southern Denmark. Hundreds of people who
came by ferry from Germany set out on the roads to reach
Sweden. Denmark began to reject them back to Germany and the
government announced in newspapers in the Middle East about
reduced Danish benefits to asylum seekers.
Denmark also stood outside the EU agreement on the
distribution of asylum seekers among the member states. But
there was strong support in opinion for Danish
participation, and the government promised to welcome 1,000
people. DF was opposed, but Venstre received support from
the opposition in the Folketing.
After three months at his post, Defense Minister Carl
Holst resigned in September after receiving harsh criticism,
among other things, for controversial statements about
Denmark's role in the Iraq war and for using public funds in
his election campaign.
Following a settlement between the Left government, the
support parties and the Social Democrats, the Folketing
decided after a quick debate in November on stricter
immigration policy. There were 34 points with tougher rules
for residence permits and family reunification as well as
increased financial responsibility for asylum seekers and
more. In addition, the punishment for begging, which is
prohibited in Denmark, was intensified. The decisions were
harshly criticized by the Left Party Enhedslisten and by
human rights organizations.
A referendum in December said no to release Denmark's
reservations in the EU's jurisdiction. Thus, for example,
the country does not fully participate in Europol.