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Getting Tougher

Feb. 20, 2005

Governments are cracking down on immigration throughout the E.U. 

Denmark
Though only 6.8% of Denmark's 5.4 million are foreign-born, immigration was a key issue in this month's election. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's coalition won easily, thanks in part to policies that have cut asylum seekers by 74%. The right-wing Danish People's Party, traditionally an ally of the government, wants to go further by stripping citizenship from naturalized Danes found guilty of a crime and revoking foreigners' right to vote in local elections.

France
Twelve hundred Muslim clerics are now encouraged to attend courses in French language and culture and secular law. Nicolas Sarkozy, a likely presidential candidate, is pushing for U.S.-style affirmative-action programs and has proposed quotas for immigrants based on skills and nationality.

Germany
Opposition leader Edmund Stoiber suggested that immigrants take a mandatory oath of allegiance. Though Stoiber's suggestion was rejected, a new law imposes a ban on unskilled workers from European and non-European countries.

Ireland
The government is recruiting immigrant workers to satisfy the economy's labor needs. Last year some 34,000 work visas were issued, most to workers from Eastern Europe. Resentment against immigrants is rising.