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How 27 Danish consulates were wiped off the map….

(BRUSSELS2 in Copenhagen) In a few weeks, Denmark has lost 27 consular points around the world spread across several regions of the world (*). Germany, Finland and France have in fact canceled the agreements they had with the Kingdom to process visa applications. In the midst of the Danish presidency, this is a “task”. The new Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov has promised to quickly regularize the problem which dates back to the practice followed by the former government, as explained by the Danish weekly CopenhagenPost.

Because of Schengen

This anachronistic situation seems, in fact, the consequence of the tougher immigration policy desired by the previous government (conservative-center right) which apparently offended many of its partners. Denmark, which does not have representation in all countries, has in fact entered into agreements with several European countries so that it can handle visa applications for the Kingdom in its place and on site. Last year, the Minister of Immigration required his partners to forward visa applications to the Danish police for specific examination in relation to national security rules. In practice, however, this slightly contravened the rules set out in the Schengen agreements. But above all, this concretely increased the tasks of consular agents of European countries who worked on behalf of Denmark.

The reaction was quick. Germany and Finland initially refused this new procedure. And the agreement was canceled by the Danish government. France also called for the agreement to be canceled. As Eric Bosc, spokesperson for the Quai d'Orsay, explains in the daily Politiken. “ Our Danish friends did not want to let us make decisions. They asked to send them the files before decision. This procedure is really too difficult for us to follow”.

Fix the problem quickly

A catastrophic situation at the political level for the new Danish government which must assume the presidency of the European Union this semester. And which poses a number of difficulties for Denmark's various partners in the countries concerned, both economically and in terms of tourism. Certainly the list of countries concerned does not include “large countries” (*). But this nevertheless deprives Denmark of serious resources in economically sensitive areas (Qatar, Bahrain, Peru, Tunisia, etc.) as well as politically or humanitarian ones (Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, Belarus, etc.).

The Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, promised to resolve this problem “technically” quickly. Old agreements could be restored. Which should take a few more weeks or months.

(*) These positions are distributed in several geographical areas: Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Lucia) – South America (Paraguay, Peru) – Africa (Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia) – Middle East (Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen) – Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Seychelles) – former Soviet republics and Central Asia (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia) and Cyprus.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).