European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fourth report on Denmark [en] - [fr] - [dk]

Press Release – 22.05.2012

Danish version

Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on Denmark

Strasbourg, 22.05.2012 - Today, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its new report on Denmark. ECRI’s Chair, Mr. Jen÷ Kaltenbach, welcomed positive developments, but regretted that a number of concerns persisted. For example, discrimination in employment, education and housing remained and the already strict rules for spousal reunification had become even stricter.

In 2008, Denmark created the Board of Equal Treatment. This body is empowered to receive complaints of discrimination on the grounds of gender and/or race or ethnic origin concerning cases outside the labour market. In relation to the labour market, the Board is empowered to receive complaints of discrimination on the grounds of, inter alia, race, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, nationality and gender. The Danish authorities have also adopted a number of measures to integrate immigrants into the labour market.

However, the criteria for obtaining Danish citizenship, spousal reunification, permanent residence or for children to be reunited with their family are very difficult for non-ethnic Danes to meet. The negative political discourse on immigrants, including Muslims, has had a disproportionately adverse effect on these groups in a number of important areas of policy.

In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations to the authorities, three of which require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:

  • Ensure sufficient funding for civil society actors working on issues relating to groups of concern to ECRI and strengthen their cooperation with the authorities;
  • Review the spousal reunification rules in order to remove any elements which amount to discrimination against non-ethnic Danes;
  • Intensify efforts in recruiting members of ethnic minorities to the police.

The report is available here. It was prepared following ECRI’s contact visit to Denmark in September 2011 [Press Release – 17.10.2011] and takes account of developments up to 8 December 2011, unless otherwise stated.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language, as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI:

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28,